Published: Mar 16, 2020
Updated California Health Guidance: Seniors and COVID-19 vulnerable residents directed to home isolate
Governor Newsom issues Executive Order redirecting California agencies to protect licensed facilities, staff & residents most vulnerable to COVID-19
Health care, residential and non-residential facilities licensed by the state, especially those serving senior citizens and other COVID-19 vulnerable populations, will face significant challenges
SACRAMENTO — Following yesterday’s announcement that older adults and those at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should isolate, Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order to protect the health and safety of Californians most vulnerable to COVID-19 residing at health care, residential and non-residential facilities licensed by the state. The order directs state health and social services agencies to redirect resources and staff to the facilities, focusing on providing technical assistance and supporting compliance with core health and safety requirements for caregivers and the cared for.
“These will be challenging times and California is mobilizing every part of government to protect and isolate residents most vulnerable to COVID-19. Those who are over the age of 65, Californians with underlying health issues, residential care patients and all those who care for these individuals are uniquely at risk. In the coming weeks, our state must rally behind these Californians and work aggressively to ensure their needs are safely met.”
The Governor’s order also directs the Health and Human Services Agency to develop alternatives to leverage in home supportive services programs, adult protective services programs, area agencies on aging and regional centers, and other programs to support the home isolation of vulnerable Californians, including seniors and those with serious chronic conditions.
The order directs the following:
- The state must focus on protecting the health and safety of the most vulnerable in licensed facilities.
- The state shall immediately identify health, community care facilities, and other sites that house populations that are most vulnerable to COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to seniors and individual who require assisted-living services due to chronic health conditions.
- The state shall redirect resources and provide technical and compliance support to protect caregivers and those they care for.
- Enforcement activities shall focus where there are allegations of the most serious violations impacting health and safety.
- The Health and Human Services Agency, in consultation with counties and labor organization and consumers, shall leverage existing services and programs to support home isolation of vulnerable Californians, including seniors and those with serious chronic underlying health conditions.
- To address the increased demand for healthcare workers and first responders, state Departments shall authorize first responders, care providers, and workers who are asymptomatic and taking precautions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, to continue working during the period of this emergency
The full executive order can be viewed here.
“It is also important that older adults and those at elevated risk of serious illness from COVID-19 take immediate steps to reduce their risk. This includes staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing,” said Governor Newsom.
Based on the Governor’s announcement yesterday, older adults, individuals with compromised immune systems, and individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease should take the following steps:
- Remain at home until order is rescinded, or until further guidance is issued.
- Cancel any non-essential travel, appointments, etc.
- For routine medical care, contact your health care provider to discuss rescheduling.
- Continue with outdoor activities.
- As long as you practice social distancing, we encourage you to continue your outdoor activities such as walks, runs and yardwork, to the extent your health allows it.
- Practice social distancing.
- Maintain distance, at least six feet, between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid handshaking, hugging or other intimate types of greetings—greet others with a wave, nod or bow instead.
- Stay in touch with others by phone or email.
- Ask friends and family to do any essential grocery shopping, picking up medications, etc.
- You should ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
- Determine who can provide you with care if your caregiver gets sick.
- Family and Caregiver Support
- Family, friends, and caregivers who come to your home to provide you with support should be asymptomatic, meaning having no fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms.
- Know what medications your loved one or client is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
- Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, and wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home.
- Have supplies on hand
- Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand.
- If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
- Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms.
- Have a plan for if you get sick:
- Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
- Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
- Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs
- Pay attention to potential COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you develop symptoms, call your doctor or local public health department.
- If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs* include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
- *This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.
- Hand washing
- Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
- Encourage hand washing by family and friends, particularly children.
- Provide alcohol based hand sanitizers to supplement hand washing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean frequently used devices, such as mobile phones.
- Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones) with common cleaning supplies
- See the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance regarding the prevention of disease in homes and residential communities.
- Use “respiratory etiquette.”
- Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve. See CDC’s Cover Your Cough page for multilingual posters and flyers, posted at the bottom of webpage.
- Provide adequate supplies within easy reach, including tissues and no touch trash cans.
The full guidance is available here.
For more the most up to date information on COVID-19 and California’s response, visit the CDPH website.