Last content update: 12/10/2021
If You Think You are Sick
Please refer to sccstayhome.org for information on what to do if you think you are sick.
People Who Need Extra Precautions
The most important safety precaution that anybody can take against COVID-19 is getting fully vaccinated. The County Health officer urges everyone to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible, and for unvaccinated people to continue to take appropriate safety measures.
Among unvaccinated people, some people are at higher risk for serious COVID-19 illness than others. Specifically, unvaccinated older adults and unvaccinated people with underlying health conditions are more likely to develop more serious symptoms and to require more intensive medical care.
Based on what we know now, the following unvaccinated people are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
Unvaccinated people aged 50 years and older
Unvaccinated people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Unvaccinated people of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
Serious heart conditions
Many conditions can cause a person to have compromised immunities, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune-weakening medications
Severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
Unvaccinated people who are pregnant.
The County Public Health Department strongly urges unvaccinated persons at higher risk of severe illness to stay home until they become fully vaccinated, which they should do as soon as possible.
In addition, follow this general guidance:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water, cough into a tissue or your elbow, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Stay away from people who are ill.
- Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using personal protective equipment (PPE).
- If you are not fully vaccinated, avoid non-essential visits to hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes, or other settings with vulnerable populations. If you must visit one of these facilities, limit your time there, wear a face covering, and keep 6 feet away from all patients and employees of the facility at all times.
We also recognize that the spread of COVID-19 could be particularly dangerous for those experiencing homelessness. Individuals without stable housing not only face greater difficulty taking preventative actions, but they are often in poorer health than other residents. The County of Santa Clara is working hard with its partners to address the needs of homeless individuals, and you can read more about our response on this page.
With cases of COVID-19 rising locally and increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the County recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places to ensure easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those settings and as an extra precautionary measure for all.
Not all members of our community are vaccinated, and face coverings remain a critical tool in protecting our community against the spread of COVID-19. However, as more community members get vaccinated, public health authorities have updated their guidance about the use of face coverings. In Santa Clara County, you must wear a face covering whenever required to do under County or State face covering rules. For more information about these requirements, please see the County’s “Public Health Order Frequently Asked Questions” page.
If I have COVID-19, can I still breastfeed my child?
Breastfeeding has been shown to have many benefits to both infants and breastfeeding parents, but because in most circumstances breastfeeding requires the parent and child to be less than 6 feet apart, if a parent has COVID-19, there is a significant risk of COVID-19 transmission from the parent to the infant.
The decision whether to breastfeed is a complex and personal one, and there are multiple options to reduce the risk of COVID for the infant while continuing to breastfeed:
- A parent may choose to continue breastfeeding during the period they are contagious with COVID-19 and reduce risk to the infant by consistently wearing a face covering, performing frequent hand hygiene before and after breastfeeding, and reducing total amount of time spent within 6 feet of the infant where possible.
- A breastfeeding parent may choose to pump and have another adult bottle-feed expressed breastmilk to the infant during the period the COVID+ parent is instructed to isolate. Hand hygiene and following cleaning instructions for pump parts, bottles, and other feeding supplies may further reduce risk.
- Another option is to pump to maintain lactation during the period the COVID+ parent is instructed to isolate and have another adult bottle-feed formula to the infant (“pump and dump.”)
- Finally, a parent may choose to stop breastfeeding during the period they are in isolation for COVID-19 in order to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission, even though they may not be able to breastfeed afterwards.
Some additional considerations for breastfeeding when the parent has been diagnosed with COVID-19:
- Infants and children generally have been shown to have milder illness when sick with COVID-19 and have the lowest risk of death of any age group.
- There is NO evidence that breastmilk itself can transmit COVID-19.
- Masks and face coverings can significantly reduce the amount of virus an infected person breathes into the air
Talk to a doctor, nurse, or lactation consultant if you have specific questions about your circumstances and breastfeeding during COVID-19 infection.
Note: Pregnant people who do not have COVID-19 are strongly urged to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. The CDC and FDA have not identified any safety concerns for pregnant people who are vaccinated or for their babies, but unvaccinated pregnant people are at particularly high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
Providers have a responsibility to report confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases to the Public Health Department. Please refer to the Healthcare Provider’s page for more detailed information and resources.
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