What is novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. It has since spread around the world, including the United States.

What is the risk?

  • Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Symptoms and Transmission:

The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it is spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person and community spread can happen on a continuum. New evidence suggests this is a highly contagious illness that can spread between symptomatic and asymptomatic persons, especially those who have had close contact (defined as being within 6 ft. form a person who tested positive for at least 15 min). Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever (greater than 100.4 degrees farenheit by mouth)
  • New onset cough (for those with chronic conditions causing a cough-a change from their baseline)
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chills/Repeated shaking with Chills
  • Severe headache, especially accompanied by fever or body aches
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Sore Throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea


People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care AT HOME to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection and there is no approved preventative vaccine (source: CDC).

Should I Be Tested?


CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. At this time, SLO County is in Stage 2 of the State Reopening Plan, learn more here. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of COVID 19 and other viruses like Influenza:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you sick!
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Pay special attention to hand-washing after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly
  • Cover your nose, mouth, face with tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in the trash.
  • Practice Social Distancing and wear a face mask/covering in public. Learn more here.
  • CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel at this time and there are restrictions on some travel. If you plan to travel visit the Travel and COVID-19 website for guidance. 

Governor Newsom approved a statewide order on June 18, 2020 requiring face coverings/masks in certain settings.  Here is the official guidance from the California Department of Public Health. The following mandates included in the order are applicable to those employees, students, and the public who are on campus for any reason:

  • Face covering/mask is required when waiting “Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space.”
  • Face covering/mask is required when “Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when: Interacting in-person with any member of the public; Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time; Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities; In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.”
  • Face covering/mask is required, “While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.”

If you have symptoms of COVID 19 you should:

  • If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1
  • If you are sick with even mild symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your medical provider to ask if you should be tested.  See this list for Urgent Care locations providing testing. Students may request a telehealth appointment by contacting studenthealthcenter@cuesta.edu
  • If you are sick, but are having trouble getting tested, please call the County Public Health Department at 805-781-5500. 
  • If you have Symptoms of COVID 19- STAY HOME and Self Quarantine

If you develop a fever or other symptoms, contact your doctor to determine if you need to be tested and stay home until: 

  • At least 24 hours after your fever has resolved (without fever reducing medications), AND
  • Symptoms have improved AND
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 

Click Here for guidelines on returning to campus after an illness or exposure to COVID 19

More Information on Coronavirus Disease

 Recommended Resources

SLO County 24-hour Recorded Information Line: (805) 788-2903

California Department of Public Health

California Community Colleges

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

COVID-19 Resources For Undocumented Californians

Financial relief resource related to hardships from COVID-19

ReadySLO Local support

Follow us on social media on Instagram/Facebook @cuestahealthcenter for educational information.

For well-being and health education, explore the digital tools promoted in our Educational Repository and have fun exploring our wellness module available on CANVAS. Wellness Central is a free online health and wellness resource that is available 24/7 in your space at your pace.

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Explore Cuesta Campus Well and find well-links to support yourself:

-Help stop the spread of coronavirus: 5 steps to proper hand washing
-Stuck at home? 7 dos and don’ts to make the best of social distancing
-Fake news or facts? How to tell if a health site is trustworthy