NEWS | March 11, 2020

2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) information from UC Davis Health

Learn about novel coronavirus symptoms and testing


World health officials continue to take efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that originated in Wuhan, China.

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

At UC Davis Health, the safety of our patients, visitors, staff and physicians is our top priority at all times. We are rigorously monitoring the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. (For more information, see our novel coronavirus FAQs for UC Davis Health patients and visitors.)

We are taking steps to ensure the safety and security of the UC Davis Health community, patients and visitors.

Our skilled and experienced care teams are trained to identify and handle any suspected or confirmed case of novel coronavirus. UC Davis infectious disease teams are working closely with local and state health authorities and taking all the steps necessary to ensure safety of everyone within our medical center and other UC Davis Health clinics and facilities

As part of our preparedness for the novel coronavirus, we have placed “Health Alert” signage near entrances to the hospital and clinics. Like other providers around the nation, we are also asking simple screening questions to proactively identify individuals who may be at risk of coronavirus.

We are in constant communication with the state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Sacramento County Public Health about managing potential cases. 

As we regularly handle patients with infectious diseases, we have robust infection control protocols in place to handle such illnesses, like novel coronavirus. [Get the latest novel coronavirus information and resources from UC Davis Health]

What is the 2019 novel coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, is part of a family of viruses that our care teams are very familiar with. Coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, and more serious infections like SARS. Symptoms start out like any other cold: fever, runny nose, cough and overall just feeling bad. It can progress and cause more severe illness like pneumonia, which can be fatal.

What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?

Novel coronavirus symptoms include fever, dry coughs or the shortness of breath associated with respiratory illness, and other flu-like symptoms. Sinus congestion or pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea are unlikely to be associated with COVID-19.

Call your primary care provider if you experience symptoms and believe you have been in close contact with a person known to have novel coronavirus.

When should I seek emergency care if I'm experiencing symptoms of novel coronavirus?

Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus should first contact their primary care provider. After evaluating your symptoms, a provider may recommend going to the Emergency Department. They can call ahead to emergency room personnel so that infection prevention measures are ready to go when you arrive. That way, you and the people around you can remain safe from infecting others if your condition is truly contagious.

We are in constant communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health and Sacramento County Public Health about managing potential cases.

Is there a test for the novel coronavirus?

Yes, there is a COVID-19 test. It is becoming more widely available as more laboratories, both public and commercial, become certified.

The state of California recently partnered with its first commercial COVID-19 testing lab and is expecting two more to come online this month, including one in Sacramento.

UC Davis Medical Center is taking steps to greatly expand its testing capabilities on-site, with the goal of running tests inside our hospital within a few weeks. We are doing this in full collaboration with Sacramento County Public Health and other public health agencies in order to take the pressure off other testing labs.

How can I protect myself and my family from novel coronavirus?

The best way for people to protect themselves is to try not to be around sick people. Much is unknown about how the novel coronavirus spreads. However, coronaviruses typically are spread from person-to-person when in close contact (about 6 feet). Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, which is how influenza and other respiratory illnesses spread.

The best way to protect your health is by practicing preventive measures, such as consistent handwashing and getting a flu shot to help prevent illness and symptoms that have been linked to the novel coronavirus.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes!
    So, it’s very important to use respiratory etiquette – meaning, if you’re sick, cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm. Sick people should stay at home and avoid being around others.
  • Wash your hands!
    Good hand hygiene is crucial for keeping you and your family healthy. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand gels.
  • What about masks?
    Public health officials do not recommend that people wear masks unless they are actually sick. As with many contagious viruses, the key is to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets from an infected person. Save the use of facemasks for those who truly need them.

For more information about novel coronavirus: