March 3, 2020

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Go to for current status and updates.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus/COVID-19 and would like to be tested, schedule an appointment online at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is maintaining a robust site with information and answers to commonly asked questions here.

California Department of Public Health webpage for Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) here.

World Health Organization (WHO) webpage for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak here.

211 Riverside County has been selected by the County of Riverside as the designated information line for COVID-19 public inquiries. Operators are available any time to answer your questions and to provide the most up to date public health information available. Additionally, operators are able to help provide referals to services such as food, shelter, and other health related requests.

If you would like to assist 211 Riverside County in providing these additional resources, you may make an online contribution by clicking the link Give by clicking here 

If you are having emotional feelings, experiencing anxiety, having suicidal thoughts, or are in crisis, please call 1-951-686-HELP (4357) anytime, day or night. Helpline provides research-based help and compassionate hope to every contact in over 120 languages. The service is free and confidential.

What is the novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

Why is the disease being called coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practices for naming of new human infectious diseases.

How serious is this threat to the public?
It’s important to know that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk of COVID-19 to the general American public is considered low at this time.

What is the source of the COVID-19 virus?
The exact source is not yet known; public health officials across the world are working to identify the source of the COVID-19 virus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting the virus likely emerged from an animal source.

How does the COVID-19 virus spread?
It is not yet clear how easily the COVID-19 virus spreads from person-to-person. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses do not spread as easily. It is important to know this in order to better understand the risks associated with this virus. Investigations are ongoing about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with the COVID-19 virus.

What are the symptoms?
Patients infected with the COVID-19 virus have reported mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms that include:
Difficulty Breathing

What can I do to prevent getting COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19, but it is recommended for everyone to get their flu vaccine and practice proven and routine preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
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.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.