Prevention and Protection
There is currently no vaccine to the novel coronavirus and the best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. However, taking everyday preventive actions will help prevent the spread of illness.
Understanding How it Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (sickest), however, it might be possible to spread the virus before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Stopping the Spread
You can help stop the spread of cold and flu-like illnesses by following simple procedures:
Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands. Handwashing involves five simple and effective steps: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry.
Cover Your Mouth
When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve or a tissue. Coughs or sneezes spray small liquid droplets. Droplets spread viruses. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19
Stay Home if Sick
Do not come into contact with others if you are sick with cold or flu symptoms. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.
Clean and Disinfect your Home
Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
Social distancing is a practice recommended by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of contagious diseases. It requires the creation of physical space between individuals who may spread certain infectious diseases. The key is to minimize the number of gatherings as much as possible and to achieve space between individuals when events or activities cannot be modified, postponed, or canceled. Achieving space between individuals of approximately six feet is advisable. Additionally, there is a particular focus on creating space between individuals who have come together on a one-time or rare basis and who have very different travel patterns such as those coming from multiple countries, states or counties.
CDC is recommending wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
If you have additional questions and cannot find the information you need online, call the Santa Barbara County Call Center at 833-688-5551.
If You Are Higher Risk
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions.
Lompoc Valley Medical Center encourages you to stay informed. Please use the links below for additional information. The CDC updates its website regularly as more information becomes available.
- California Department of Public Health
- World Health Organization Coronavirus Information
- Home cleaning with COVID-19 positive individuals
- County of Santa Barbara Coronavirus Information Portal
- How Coronavirus Spreads
- Emmi Guides on COVID-19
Emmi programs are web-based presentations that take complex medical information and make it easy for you and your family to understand. You can view these programs online for free, and share them with your friends and family. Let's get started!