COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following are some of the common questions about COVID-19 that you might have.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Information About the Virus

    Q: What is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
    A: There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19, originally caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not been previously seen in humans, was first identified in Wuhan, China, in 2019.

    Q: How does COVID-19 spread?
    A: Current understanding about how COVID-19 spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. The virus is spread when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.

    Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
    A: For confirmed cases of COVID-19, symptoms have included fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. The best defense against severe illness causing hospitalization and death is to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

    Q: How can I protect myself and my family from COVID-19?
    A: The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated with one of the currently available vaccines, which have a high degree of effectiveness in preventing serious illness causing hospitalization or death. Vaccines are currently approved for anyone 12 and older. The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of illness, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 40-60 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

      • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and thoroughly wash your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Follow the latest local guidelines and recommendations masking.

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  • Information about Testing

    Testing for COVID-19

    Q: Should I come to El Camino Health to get tested for COVID-19?
    A: If you have concerns about potential symptoms related to COVID-19, please contact your primary healthcare provider who can provide guidance on testing and medical care. Unless you are experiencing an immediate or life-threatening condition, there is no need to seek emergency care without first contacting your primary healthcare provider.

    If you are looking for a doctor, El Camino Health primary care and specialty care doctors are available for in-person, phone and video visits, and can generally see you within 24 hours. They can help evaluate your symptoms, order a COVID-19 test and manage your everyday health needs. Call 408-871-3411 to speak to our patient care coordinator, who can match you with a doctor and make appointments.

    Our Urgent Care centers located in Mountain View, Cupertino and San Jose are open and available to help evaluate your symptoms and order a COVID-19 test, if needed. The emergency rooms at our Los Gatos and Mountain View hospitals have separate respiratory assessment areas for those needing immediate care for respiratory issues.

    To see all of our COVID-19 testing options, please see here.

    Q: How much does El Camino Health's hospitals charge for the COVID-19 test?
    A: The charge for the COVID-19 test is $200. However, health plans are required by a federal mandate to cover co-pays for COVID-19 tests that would typically be paid for by a patient, which means there is no cost to the insured patient to be tested. If you are self-paying, please see our Price Estimator Tool for the discounted out-of-pocket cost.

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  • General El Camino Health Hospital Information

    Q: Are people allowed to visit the hospital?
    Yes, but as a result of more restrictive measures being taken throughout the Bay Area related to COVID-19, El Camino Health's hospitals have implemented restrictions on visitors. All people entering the hospital will be asked to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination completed at least two weeks prior to visitation or, if partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of visitation. If you were vaccinated in California and do not have paper proof, a digital version of your vaccine card may be quickly obtained by completing an online form provided by the CDPH. All visitors will be required to wear a hospital-provided mask for the duration of their visit and at all times in patient rooms. For the latest information on our visitor restrictions, please visit our visitor information page.

    Q: How is El Camino Health sanitizing facilities?
    A: El Camino Health facilities stringently follow standard operating procedures related to sanitization. This includes rooms designated for isolation that receive a multi-step cleaning process, including cleaning of all surfaces, curtain changes, and a complete and robotic UV disinfection done after a patient has left the room. In addition, we train staff on a continuous basis in best practices related to infection control protocols and sanitization.

    Q: Are El Camino Health hospitals giving away supplies to the community?
    A: No. While we have the appropriate resources and supplies in place to effectively provide care, these materials are intended for our use to continue to treat patients admitted to El Camino Health hospitals.

    Q: Am I at risk of contracting COVID-19 if I am a patient at the hospital?
    A: Patients admitted to El Camino Health's hospitals who are under investigation for COVID-19 or are confirmed to have the virus are cared for in line with our protocols for treating infectious diseases, including treatment in isolation areas in compliance with CDC guidelines. We regularly care for patients with infectious diseases, and have comprehensive protocols in place and specialized supplies to ensure we are able to do so with the highest regard to health and safety.

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  • Seeking Emergency Care

    Q: When should I seek emergency care if I am having symptoms of COVID-19?
    A: Unless you are experiencing an immediate or life-threatening condition, there is no need to seek emergency care without first contacting your primary healthcare provider. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. According to the CDC, emergency warning signs include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face.

    Q: Can I seek emergency care for COVID-19 at El Camino Health?
    A: Yes. We regularly treat patients with infectious diseases and have comprehensive health and safety protocols. El Camino Health’s Los Gatos and Mountain View emergency rooms continue to be open and treating patients. We have separate respiratory assessment areas which provide a safe space where we can streamline care for those experiencing respiratory symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19.

    However, unless you are experiencing an immediate or life-threatening condition, there is no need to seek emergency care without first contacting your primary healthcare provider. If you are looking for a provider, El Camino Health primary care and specialty care doctors are available for in-person, phone and video visits, and can generally see you within 24 hours. They can help evaluate your symptoms, order a COVID-19 test and manage your everyday health needs. Call 408-871-3411 to speak to our patient care coordinator who can match you with a doctor and make appointments.

    Q: Am I at risk of contracting COVID-19 if I go to the Emergency Room?
    A: For patients seeking emergency care, our emergency rooms are a safe place to seek treatment. Patients experiencing respiratory symptoms are being evaluated in dedicated respiratory assessment areas so there is a separation between those with respiratory symptoms and those with other emergent needs.

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  • Delivering a Baby

    Read FAQs about pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care at El Camino Health hospitals during COVID-19 on our Mother-Baby Health pages.

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  • Information about our Primary Care, Specialty Care and Urgent Care Clinics

    Q: Should I keep my scheduled appointment with my doctor?
    A: Yes, you should keep you scheduled appointment. Most of our primary care doctors and specialists are now available for video or phone appointments. These types of visits are a convenient way to get the personalized care you need – generally within 24 hours. To schedule an appointment, contact your doctor's office.

    Should an in-person appointment be necessary, our doctor’s offices and urgent care clinics have implemented procedures that follow CDC guidelines to protect all of our patients and staff members. Prior to an office visit, patients will be pre-screened via telephone for possible COVID-19 related symptoms.

    Q: What precautions are in place to protect patients and staff?
    A: El Camino Health clinics follow and adhere to guidance provided by the CDC, SCCDPH and CDPH to ensure our preparedness and continued ability to provide care for all patients. Our clinics stringently follow standard operating procedures related to sanitization. During this time, all individuals entering the facilities will be required to wear a mask and adhere to physical distancing requirements in waiting areas and common areas. All employees and doctors are screened regularly for symptoms of COVID-19.

    Q: If I am experiencing respiratory symptoms, where should I go for care?
    A: Unless you are experiencing an immediate or life-threatening condition, there is no need to seek emergency care without first contacting your primary healthcare provider. If you are experiencing mild to moderate respiratory symptoms or breathing discomfort due to a chronic condition, we have designated our Willow Glen Urgent Care Clinic as the location to safely assess symptoms. If assessment identifies COVID-19 symptoms in accordance with the CDC guidelines, testing can be conducted at the clinic.

    Q: Where can I get tested for COVID-19?
    A: Our Urgent Care centers located in Mountain View, Cupertino and San Jose are open and available to help evaluate your symptoms and order a COVID-19 test, if needed.

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  • Donations

    Q: Are El Camino Health hospitals accepting donations?
    A: Yes. The El Camino Health Foundation has established the El Camino Health COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Donations to this fund will help our community hospitals in Mountain View and Los Gatos support potential unexpected impact or burdensome costs associated with additional staffing, heightened screening, purchase of supplies and equipment, delayed elective procedures, assistance for employees who are facing financial hardship, child care for El Camino Health staff provided by the YMCA and any related needs that emerge in the future due to the impact of COVID-19. If your employer is making matching donations, the impact of your gift can be doubled or tripled.

    In addition to financial support, we are accepting in-kind donations of medical and sanitation supplies. While El Camino Health is currently well-supplied, we want to continue ensuring we have the appropriate resources in place to treat patients with the highest regard to health and safety in any scenario. All donated items must be new, unopened and meet our medical use specifications.

    Items we are accepting include:

    • Gloves
    • Isolation gowns
    • Hard goggles
    • Disposable eye shields
    • Shoe covers
    • Nurse caps
    • Germicidal disinfecting surface wipes
    • Clorox disinfecting wipes
    • Masks

    Before completing any material donations, please call the foundation at 650-940-7154 or email foundation@elcaminohealth.org.

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