COVID 19: FAQs to Keep You and Your Family Safe

Learn how you can protect yourself, your community, and your patients from the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 has altered all of our lives both personally and professionally and your Union is taking every possible step to be sure that your health and wellbeing is protected, and to be certain that your family is not harmed financially by the precautions ordered by CA Governor Gavin Newsom and being implemented by the County of Los Angeles.

The County’s response to COVID-19 and implementation of the Governor’s orders are being implemented by the County’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and all County employees have been deemed “Disaster Service Workers.” As such, every County employee is subject to reassignment in the event the County declares an official disaster.

Effective March 16, Los Angeles County will close all of its buildings to the public as a precautionary measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Take all appropriate measures to protect yourself and those around you.  Wash your hands frequently, refrain from touching your face and avoid crowds as much as possible.

General Health:

As with other respiratory illnesses, there are steps that everyone can take daily to reduce the risk of getting sick or infecting others with circulating viruses. You should:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 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 touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Get a flu shot to prevent influenza if you have not done so this season

Feeling Sick?

Call your health care provider. Your doctor will advise you on the next steps. It is recommended that you not call 911 or just show up at the ER or Urgent Care to request testing for coronavirus/COVID-19. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.

Per Blue Shield of California, to remove any barriers for appropriate testing, starting immediately Blue Shield is waiving all cost-sharing and any prior approval for Covid-19 testing prescribed by a physician.

Returning to Work Locations:

Q. There are rumors the County is looking to bring people back to work in the office with social distancing. Has CAPE had any conversations with HR or the CEO about this?

CAPE has not been notified of any plan to return our members to work at your normal work locations or an office plan to keep our members safe. CAPE is aware that the County Departments are being asked to formulate plans to return to normal operations, including returning most employees to their normal work locations. These plans are required to include measures to keep members safe.  We are unaware of any date for such plans to be submitted to the CEO, Public Health or the Board. There is a group of Department Heads that are working on a general plan for the County. So far, the County and its departments have implemented the measures recommended by the County's Department of Public Health.

Q. Will we be forced back to the office if we have a medical condition or have childcare issues?

The County to date has required its Departments to have their employees 65 or over or with medical conditions that place them at risk for COVID 19 to telework. CAPE recommends members with medical conditions not named by the County’s Department of Public Health as placing them at risk of the virus to contact their doctor to get a note stating that they do have a medical condition that places them at high risk of COVID 19. If a member does not fall in one of these two categories, he/she would normally have to comply with an order to return to their workplace, unless the workplace does not comply with either the Governor's, Board of Supervisors’ or Public Health's directions. If a member has to take care of a child and stay home, they would need to use benefit time.

Q. Do you think the Governor will extend the “stay at home” order?

No one knows what directions the Governor and the Board of Supervisors will adopt after May 15, when the stay-at-home order expires for LA County.

Childcare - Families First COVID-19 Response Act:

Congress recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will provide new emergency paid sick leave and childcare leave for employees affected by COVID-19. It will be in effect from April 1-December 31, 2020.

Read our post on the "New Families First COVID-19 Response Act" to learn more.

PDF icon Employee Leave of Absence Request for Departments with FFCRA Leaves

PDF icon Employee Leave of Absence Request for Departments with Discretionary Leaves

*The County will soon have a link published with more information and to make it easier for members in need of the policy to make requests.

Face Masks

The County has released new guidelines from the Department of Public Health regarding face masks. The County believes that face masks will help protect employees and have released a chart to help decide which level of face mask would be best to use.

Even more, the County will issue two washable face masks in the near future. If you choose to use other face masks please keep in mind that a cloth face mask may be factory-made, sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

Read the DPH’s Guidance on Cloth Face Masks here. 

Read the chart with face mask level recommendations.

Always check with reliable sources for the up-to-date, accurate information about novel coronavirus:

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH, County)

California Department of Public Health (CDPH, State)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, National)

World Health Organization (WHO, International)