COVID-19 Common Information

COVID-19 Información en español

Protect Yourself

How can people protect themselves?

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice good hygiene and stay up to date with your vaccines:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or the corner of your sleeve. Do not use your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, especially your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you are sick, especially from work, school and public places.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • CDPH strongly recommends all people, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a face covering in indoor public places. 
  • If you are immune compromised or unvaccinated, it's recommended to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from people who are not part of your immediate household.

Face Covering Guidelines & Recommendations

In California, masks are no longer required to be worn but are strongly recommended for the following reasons and settings: 

  • High-risk settings where vulnerable individuals live or are cared for (hospitals, nursing homes, prisons).
  • Public transportation and air travel.
  • Public indoor settings that are crowded.
  • Unvaccinated persons.
  • Persons at-risk for severe disease (elderly, underlying medical conditions).
  • Persons with decreased immunity.
  • Persons with known significant exposure to COVID-19.

What is a face covering?

A material that covers the nose and mouth, made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

Use and care: Wear a clean mask every time you go out. Wash in the laundry or by hand between uses.

Who should not wear a mask?

  • Children under 2 years old
  • Anyone with respiratory issues where it would impede their breathing
  • Anyone unable to remove the mask without help
  • Anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that does not allow them to wear a mask

People at Increased Risk

Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill from COVID-19. Severe illness means that a person with COVID-19 may need: hospitalization, intensive care and a ventilator to help them breathe or they may even die. People at increased risk, and those who live or visit with them, need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19, these include:

  • Adults over the age of 65
  • People with underlying medical conditions
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant women
  • People who remain unvaccinated

Symptoms of COVID-19

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.

Severe Symptoms

People with severe symptoms of respiratory illness should call their healthcare provider immediately. Call ahead so that you can be safely evaluated to prevent exposing others. Your healthcare provider will evaluate you and determine the best course of action for your illness, including whether or not you should be tested.

What to Do if You Have Covid-19 or Have Been Exposed?

CDPH Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines

Recommendations for people who test positive

  1. Stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms, until you have not had a fever for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication AND other COVID-19 symptoms are mild and improving.
  2. Mask when you are around other people indoors for 10 days* after you become sick or test positive (if no symptoms).
    • You may remove your mask sooner than 10 days if you have two sequential negative tests at least one day apart. Day 0 is the symptom onset date or positive test date.
  3. Avoid contact with people at higher-risk for severe COVID-19 for 10 days*. Higher-risk individuals include:
    • The elderly
    • People who live in congregate care facilities
    • People who have immunocompromising conditions
  4. Seek Treatment. If you have symptoms, particularly if you are at higher risk for severe COVID-19, speak with a healthcare provider as soon as you test positive. You may be eligible for antiviral medicines or other treatments for COVID-19. COVID-19 antiviral medicines work best if taken as soon as possible, and within 5-7 days from when symptoms start. 
    • Call 1-833-422-4255 if you are unable to contact a healthcare provider, or use the treatment options to find one.

Recommendations for close contacts of cases:

  • If you have new COVID-19 symptoms, you should test and mask right away.
  • If you do not have symptoms, and are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection and would benefit from treatment, you should test within 5 days. 
  • If you do not have symptoms and have contact with people who are at higher risk for severe infection, you should mask indoors when around such people for 10 days. Consider testing within 5 days after the last exposure date (Day 0) and before contact with higher-risk people. For further details, see CDPH COVID-19 testing guidance.

Quarantine for High-Risk Exposure

Those working or living in high-risk settings who are not fully vaccinated or who haven't been infected in the past 90 days still must quarantine for at least five days following an exposure even if they don't have symptoms. See full CDPH Quarantine Guidance for details. High-risk settings include:

  • Emergency Shelters and cooling and heating centers
  • Healthcare settings
  • Homeless shelters
  • Long-term care settings and Adult and Senior Care Facilities
  • Local correctional facilities and detention centers

If I Test Positive for Covid-19, Will I Be Contacted by Public Health?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 please follow the instructions to safely isolate during your infection. You may or may not be contacted by Public Health.


California no longer has a travel advisory in effect. There are now no state recommendations to test and quarantine before and after travel. For international travel, please visit the CDC travel information page for the latest travel alerts, restrictions, and guidance.

However, the California Department of Public Health asks that you do the following:

  • Delay travel until you're fully vaccinated
  • If you're not fully vaccinated, but choose to travel, get tested before and after
  • No matter your vaccination status, wear a mask while on public transportation or in a transportation hub

Get tested if you feel sick, and avoid traveling if you have or may have COVID-19.