Coronavirus Disease 2019
FAQs for
Healthcare Providers

Click each question for answers to some frequently asked questions.

Click here to see additional FAQs for Healthcare Professionals from the CDC.

Clinical presentation among reported cases of COVID-19 varies in severity from mild respiratory illness to severe illness such as severe pneumonia with respiratory failure and septic shock. Fever, cough, myalgia, fatigue, and shortness of breath are symptoms frequently reported at illness onset by hospitalized patients. Currently it is believed that many people with COVID-19 have mild, self-limited disease. For more information see the CDCís
Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Risk factors for severe illness are still being evaluated, although older patients and those with chronic medical conditions appear to be at higher risk for more severe outcomes. For more information see the CDCís Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Per the CDC, the onset and duration of viral shedding and period of infectiousness for COVID-19 are not yet known. While SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in the upper or lower respiratory tract for weeks after illness onset, the detection of viral RNA does not necessarily mean that infectious virus is present. Patients with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 are considered no longer infectious after 7 days from symptom onset and 3 days after resolution of fever (without antipyretics) and improvement of other symptoms, whichever is longer.
It is believed that person-to-person transmission most commonly happens during close exposure to a person infected with COVID-19, primarily via respiratory droplets produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes or through aerosols produced during procedures (such as intubation or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). Droplets can land in the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. It may also be transmitted by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching oneís mouth, nose, or possibly eyes.
Due to the rates of community transmission in LA County, any person with an acute febrile respiratory illness should be presumed to have COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is not needed in most cases. Persons with mild illness should be instructed to isolate themselves and follow home care instructions. See Q. When is testing for COVID-19 recommended?
It is recommended that providers test persons with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 where a diagnostic result will inform clinical management or public health response. See Laboratory Testing for commercial clinical laboratories currently performing COVID-19 testing and when testing is recommended through the LAC DPH Public Health Lab.
Providers do NOT need to call DPH if they are testing through a commercial lab.
Health care providers should contact LAC DPH if the patient meets LAC DPH Public Health Lab (PHL) COVID-19 Testing Criteria as these patients are a public health priority. If the patient meets the criteria but commercial clinical lab testing is pursued, there is no need to contact DPH unless the test is positive (see reporting).
Unless confirming a diagnosis of COVID-19 will impact patient management, DPH recommends against COVID-19 diagnostic testing for persons with mild febrile respiratory illness who can be safely managed at home. This minimizes possible exposures to healthcare workers, patients, and the public and will reduce the demand for personal protective equipment. A symptomatic patient is presumed to have COVID-19 regardless of test result and must comply with home isolation.
Healthcare providers and laboratories must report all positive COVID-19 laboratory results to LAC DPH (except for tests performed at the Public Health Lab).
Health care providers must complete a Medical Provider COVID-19 Report form. Please make sure to include ALL patient information as this is not included in the lab reports. Fax the completed form to 888-397-3778. Patients who live in Pasadena or Long Beach should be reported to the appropriate health department.
Symptomatic persons with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 may discontinue home isolation when both of the following time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery conditions are met:
  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
CDC Discontinuation of Home Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 (Interim Guidance)
A close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case for at least 10 minutes or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
Close contacts must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last time they were in contact with the case. They may return to regular activities after the 14 days have passed, if they have remained asymptomatic, and have had no further contact with the case. If they continue to live with, have contact with, and/or care for a person with COVID-19, then see additional details in the Home Quarantine Guidance.
N-95 supplies: see LAC DPH Guidance, Optimizing Limited Supplies of N95 Respirators English Spanish
Healthcare facilities can apply for additional respirators or masks through the mechanisms below.
LAC DPH follows CDC and WHO guidance and recommends the following for routine care of patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19: standard precautions, droplet precautions, contact precautions, and eye protection. This means healthcare workers should wear gloves, a surgical mask, and eye protection. A gown is also recommended, but if in short supply, is not needed. Note, additional measures are needed for procedures that can generate aerosols (see below).
The patient should be in a regular room with the door closed and should be wearing a surgical mask.
These procedures should be conducted wearing gloves, eye protection, and a surgical mask. A gown is recommended, but if in short supply, should be prioritized for procedures that generate respiratory aerosols.
LAC DPH follows CDC and WHO guidance and recommends the following for high-risk aerosol-generating procedures on patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19: standard, airborne, contact precautions, and eye protection. These procedures require gowning, gloving, N95 respirator, and eye protection.
The patient should be in an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR) during these procedures.
Due to the increasing rates of community transmission in LA County, it is assumed that all health care workers (HCW) will have had some level of exposure in the community or at home thus increasing the risk of transmission to patients or other HCW. For this reason, all HCW should self-monitor for symptoms daily (see Q How should healthcare workers be monitored?)
All HCW should self-monitor twice daily, once prior to coming to work and the second ideally timed approximately 12 hours later for possible symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., elevated temperature >100.0 and/or cough or shortness of breath).
If a HCW has symptoms of fever and/or cough or shortness of breath, they should contact their place of work immediately and self-isolate.
A HCW with mild respiratory symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, etc.) without fever may work. Consider having the HCW wear a surgical mask which is changed frequently to ensure efficacy and educate about respiratory etiquette. Consider reassigning those HCW responsibilities to exclude patient care.
See LAC DPH Guidance for Monitoring Healthcare Personnel.
Healthcare workers with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 can discontinue home isolation and return to work when both of the following time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery conditions are met:
  1.  At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND
  2.  At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
In addition, after returning to work they should:
  • Adhere to hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette (e.g., cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, dispose of tissues in waste receptacles, and immediately wash their hands or use hand sanitizer);
  • Self-monitor for symptoms, and seek re-evaluation from occupational health if respiratory symptoms recur or worsen;
  •  Wear a facemask at all times while in the healthcare facility until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer; and
  •  Be restricted from contact with severely immunocompromised patients (e.g., transplant, hematology-oncology) until 14 days after illness onset.
See CDC Criteria for Return to Work for Healthcare Personnel with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 (Interim Guidance) and LAC DPH Guidance for Monitoring Health Care Personnel for more information.
If health care exposure was low risk or has no identifiable risk, then there is no additional action needed other than the recommended daily monitoring of all HCWs (see Q How should healthcare workers be monitored?)
If there was a medium or high-risk exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19, then the HCW should be excluded from work for 14 days after the contact with the case and actively monitored for fever and symptoms. Note: Considerations are in place to allow continuing to work if there are staffing shortages. For examples of exposure risk categories and associated actions see LAC DPH Guidance for Monitoring Healthcare Personnel.



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  • Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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