Here’s What to Do in Case of a Coronavirus Outbreak

Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in San Francisco on Feb. 25.

There are no novel coronavirus cases in San Francisco yet, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Feb. 25 that an American COVID-19 outbreak is inevitable. Hours later, Mayor London Breed decreed a state of emergency in the city of San Francisco, along with a series of tips to prevent viral spread. 

Symptoms of the virus include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

If an outbreak does occur in the San Francisco Bay Area, here’s what to do to reduce your risk of getting infected, or infecting others:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 or more seconds. The San Francisco Department of Public Health says that washing your hands is one of the most effective ways of preventing yourself from getting sick.
  2. Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  3. If you’re sick, stay home from work or school. 
  4. Get a flu shot to protect yourself against the flu and symptoms similar to COVID-19.

For those who have traveled to China recently, the CDC mandates various levels of quarantine. As of Feb. 3, if you’re a U.S. citizen returning from mainland China (outside of the Hubei province), and you don’t exhibit any of the symptoms, the CDC recommends you self-quarantine at home with monitoring from your local health department. If you returned from China before Feb. 3, then you should monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days since your last day in China. If you’ve exhibited any symptoms, call your health provider.

The mayor’s office also recommends that you make sure that other aspects of your life are prepared in case of a coronavirus outbreak. 

If you have kids, make sure you have a plan in case you get sick and are unable to take care of them. In the event of a school closure, make sure you have a backup childcare plan.

You should also make sure you have “all essential medications” in your household, and that you have a plan for caring for a sick family member without infecting yourself.

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