SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Several local children showed their appreciation for San Diego County’s Public Health Lab recently. Staff from the county’s Epidemiology and Immunization Services Branch received a care package filled with handmade cards, thanking them for their efforts during the COVID-19 incident.
Since the county declared a public health emergency on Feb. 14, staff at the Public Health Lab have tested close to 800 specimens for COVID-19 and investigated more than 1,800 persons who showed symptoms of the illness, or were exposed to someone who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Microbiologists at the Public Health Lab can test for a variety of diseases, including avian flu, plague, norovirus, HIV, rabies, and drug-resistant tuberculosis. The lab also processes water samples, including drinking water, wastewater, and recreational water.
San Diego kids cards for public health lab
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We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page we will continue updating with the latest information and reports.
Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020.
According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:
Know how it spreads
There is no vaccine
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus
It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact
And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Put distance between yourselves and others
Stay home when you are sick
Wear a facemask if you are sick
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow
Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page.
The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses.
While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.