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Please note the Imperial County Public Health Department will be closed to all walk-in services for the public. Department staff will be available to provide assistance by phone to members of the community who have questions related to any of the Department’s essential services.

Phone assistance will be available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The office will be closed for lunch from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. This shall remain in effect until further notice.

FAQ - Symptoms and Testing

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Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. 

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever  

  • Cough  

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing  

  • Chills  

  • Repeated shaking with chills  

  • Muscle pain  

  • Headache  

  • Sore throat  

  • New loss of taste or smell   

  • Severe illness   

*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses. Complications and outcomes of this virus are still being investigated. 

Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases who develop symptoms are likely to be positive for the disease as well and testing is not required, especially if the patient is not severely ill. Testing people who have mild or moderate symptoms, but are not at higher risk of severe complications decreases testing resources and limits personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care personnel. This can expose other patients and health care personnel to COVID-19.

Remember that about 80% of people who get COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms and don’t need to be tested.  If you’ve had symptoms, stay home until symptoms have subsided, you have not had a fever for three days without using fever-reducing medication, and it has been seven days since your symptoms started.

If you:

  • Do not have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Have mild respiratory symptoms

There is no current recommendation for you to get tested. If you’ve had symptoms, stay home until your symptoms have subsided, you have not had a fever for three days without using fever-reducing medication, and it has been seven days since your symptoms started.

If you:

  • Have had close contact with someone with COVID-19
  • Visited an area where there is an ongoing spread of COVID-19

Please call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. Please keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19, and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.

If you:

Develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to awaken
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Get medical attention immediately.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and those who are told by a clinician they are presumed to be positive for COVID-19, are required to self-isolate for a period of at least 3 days without symptoms, including being fever free without taking medicine, or 7 days since symptoms started, whichever is longer.  Additionally, those who have been in close contact with someone who is positive or presumed positive must quarantine themselves for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the ill person.

Healthcare providers determine whether a person ill with COVID-19 requires hospitalization or if home isolation is appropriate. That decision may be based on multiple factors including severity of illness, need for testing, and appropriateness of home for isolation purposes. 

If you’ve had contact with an individual who has no symptoms but has been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, this does not meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for being at a higher risk for COVID-19.

The CDC defines close contact as follows:

  • If you’ve been within 6-feet of a person infected with the virus for a prolonged period of time.
  • If you’ve had direct contact with the infected person's secretions (from nose or mouth).

At this time, there are no isolation requirements if you’ve had contact with someone who’s been in contact with a person that’s been identified as a confirmed COVID-19 patient.

If you develop a fever and/or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and had close contact (within 6 feet/2 meters) with someone who is suspected to have or has been laboratory confirmed to have COVID-19, you should stay home. If your symptoms worsen contact your healthcare provider to seek medical advice.

No, COVID-19 testing is not available at the Imperial County Public Health Department. 

Beginning May 5, 2020, OptumServe will be hosting community testing sites for COVID-19. The testing site will be located at the Plaza Building at the Imperial Valley Expo in Imperial.  Hours will be Monday through Friday from 7:00am – 7:00 pm and closed from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm.  Testing will be available by appointment only and can be scheduled online and by phone.  

To make an appointment online visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting or contact 888-634-1123 starting May 2nd.   

At this time, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized any tests that are available to purchase for testing yourself at home. Any companies offering home testing kits should be reported to the FDA at the following email address: FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov

No. Results must be obtained from the facility where the test sample was collected. At this time, samples collected at the hospitals are sent to the San Diego Public Health Laboratory for testing. Those results are provided to the hospital laboratories as soon as they are reported. 

Most California residents are eligible for free, medically necessary, COVID-19 testing. Medically necessary means the patient’s condition meets the guidelines of the CDC, and has been ordered by a healthcare provider. You are encouraged to work with your healthcare provider’s billing department to inquire about testing charges. The Public Health Department’s website has information on healthcare coverage options for those who are uninsured or underinsured: http://www.icphd.org/health-information-and-resources/healthy-facts/covid-19/general-public/