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 spread can happen on a continuum. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people, but appears to be at highest risk for symptomatic people and people with close contact to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.

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

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chills/Repeated shaking with Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore Throat
  • New loss of taste or smell


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 preventated vaccine (source: CDC).

Should I Be Tested?


There is no vaccine to prevent this illness and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. At this time SLO County is under Shelter at Home orders, learn more here. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • 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.
  • Consider wearing a non-medical grade 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. 

If you have symptoms of COVID 19 you should:

  • If you are sick with even mild symptoms of COVID-19, please get tested for the disease right away.  
  • If you’re sick, call your doctor or your nearest Urgent Care to get tested right away. Many doctors offices and clinics are now offering testing. See this list for Urgent Care locations providing testing.
  • We need people tested to see if the disease is spreading and we now have greater testing capacity.  
  • If you are sick but are having trouble getting tested, please call the County Public Health Department at 805-781-5500. 
  • If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1.
  • If you have symptoms other than fever, cough and shortness of breath, County Public Health recommends staying home until you are well.

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

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) after fever has resolved, AND
  • *Respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath have improved AND
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 

Note: Fever is not considered to be “resolved” if you’re still using fever-reducing medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®).


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