Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources & Information
Your health and safety are our top priority. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to stay healthy. Please check this page often for new information about the coronavirus and how to get help.
Click below for help with things like protecting yourself, reaching medical care, and getting help with basics like food and housing. There is no cost to SFHP members for needed screening, testing, or health care for COVID-19.
Click on the items below to learn more.
What is Coronavirus and What Can I Do?
The new coronavirus is a virus that causes a disease called COVID-19, which affects the lungs and other organs. In most people the disease causes mild symptoms, like a cold. But for some people the symptoms can become more serious, causing severe breathing trouble.
If you are worried about the coronavirus, you are not alone. Read more to learn how to get help and how to protect yourself and others.
Where to Learn More
These trusted sources have up-to-date information, about the coronavirus:
- The San Francisco Coronavirus website, please click here.
- The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), please click here.
- The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), please click here.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or hard time breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore Throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Feeling very tired or weak
- Nausea or vomiting
There may be other symptoms as well. Please call your health provider (doctor) for any other symptoms that you are worried about.
For more information about symptoms visit the CDC website. It also has a link to the CDC’s Self-Checker, a guide to help make choices and find the right medical care. Read More
When to Contact Your Doctor
There is no cost to SFHP members for needed screening, testing, or health care for COVID-19.
People over 65 and people with health issues like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for serious problems. Learn more at the “Am I at High Risk” section of this website.
Emergency Warning Signs
Get medical help right away if you have any of these emergency warning signs:
- Trouble breathing
- Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
- New confusion or inability to wake up
- Bluish lips or face
- Cannot stay awake or not able to stay awake
Please talk with your doctor for any symptoms that are severe or that you are worried about.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Tell the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If you can, put on a cloth face covering before help comes.
For more about emergency warning signs, visit the CDC website. Read More
If you want to get tested for the coronavirus, please call your doctor.
You can find out about coronavirus testing at the city’s website. Learn More
SFHP can help you contact your doctor. Please call Customer Service at 1(415) 547-7800 for help.
Is there a vaccine?
So far, there is no vaccine to prevent the disease caused by the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
Because there is no vaccine, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
How to Protect Yourself and Others
The coronavirus passes to others through close contact (being within about 6 feet). When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air.
Learn how to protect against the coronavirus at the CDC’s “How to Protect Yourself & Others”. Read More
Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus.
Stay Home if You Can
Since people can spread the coronavirus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when you can.
San Francisco has issued a shelter-in-place order requiring people to stay safe in the place where they live unless it is necessary to go out. People can leave home to get food, care for family or a friend, get needed health care, or go to an essential job.
This is also called the Stay Safe at Home order.
You can find the newest information about the shelter-in-place order at the city’s coronavirus website, or you can call 311.
San Francisco is also asking people to stay at least 6 feet away from others if you have to go outside. This is sometimes called physical distancing or social distancing. Learn More
Washing hands well is one of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Requirement to Wear Face Coverings
A San Francisco health order requires people older than 12 to wear a face cover (like a mask) in some situations when you must be out in public. It is safer to stay at home when you can.
You must cover your face when you
- Go to the store
- Take public transit
- Visit the doctor
- Do some other things listed on the city’s web page. Read More
You can read the health order about face covering. Read More
Remember to keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others even when you wear a cloth face cover.
You can also find information on how to make and use cloth masks at the CDC’s web page on face coverings. Learn More
Coronavirus Letter to Medi-Cal Members
The state of California has put together information about the new coronavirus for people on Medi-Cal. If you are a Medi-Cal member, the letter should have been sent to you. To see this letter, please click here.
The letter talks about many topics like:
- Ways to lower your risk
- Ways to manage stress
- Where to learn more about the coronavirus
- Medi-Cal benefits during the coronavirus pandemic
Last updated 8/27/2020
Accessing Your Health Benefits
Here you can find information on how to use your health benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. This page contains information on:
- How to reach your doctor
- Pharmacy and drug coverage
- Emotional health support
How to Reach Your Doctor
You can still see your doctor for many of your health needs. Call your doctor’s office to make or change your appointment. If you are sick, call your health care provider first. They may be able to help by phone without having to go to the doctor’s office.
You can also call a doctor at Teladoc® for free any time of the day or night. Learn more at teladoc.com/sfhp or 1(800)835-2362.
How can I get my medications?
You can still go to your pharmacy to pick up medications and supplies. Some San Francisco pharmacies are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, some stores may change their hours. Please call your pharmacy before visiting to check if their hours have changed.
If your pharmacy is closed for now, your prescription(s) can be sent to another pharmacy. Most pharmacies can easily send prescriptions between stores. Please note transfer of controlled drugs such as opioids may be limited.
Many pharmacies are offering FREE home delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, including all Walgreens and CVS stores. Please call your pharmacy to learn how to get prescriptions delivered.
San Francisco Health Plan is keeping track of changes. To see if your pharmacy is closed for now click here
Does San Francisco Health Plan cover items to protect me from coronavirus?
SFHP now covers some items needed to protect against coronavirus. SFHP will cover these items while the coronavirus pandemic lasts. The new items that are covered during this time are below.
- Your doctor will need to send a prescription to a pharmacy for the items to be covered
- SFHP only covers a limited amount of each item (the limit is below)
- These are covered at no cost to Medi-Cal members. For Healthy Workers members, these items are covered with a copay of up to $5
|New Covered Item||Limit|
|Rubbing alcohol for disinfecting surfaces (ethyl alcohol 70% solution )||Up to 1,920 milliliters per 30 days|
|Gloves that can be thrown away (made of latex, nitrile, vinyl, or nyprex)||One box of 50 gloves per 30 days|
|Digital thermometer (one that goes in the mouth)||One per 5 years|
Support for Emotional Health
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused major changes in our lives. You may feel stressed, nervous, sad, bored, upset, or lonely. You are not alone.
Some tips for handling your stress:
- Take breaks from watching or reading the news
- Stay in touch with supportive people in your life by phone, text or online groups
- Take care of your body by eating healthy foods, exercising and getting sleep
- Try not to drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day
- For people aged 60 and over, try not to drink more than one alcoholic drink a day
- Call for help over the phone if your emotions make it hard for you to do the things you normally do
Hotlines if you need to talk with someone
Local Suicide Prevention: 1(415) 781-0500
National 24/7 Lifelines: Suicide Prevention 1(800) 273-8255 or text 838255
If you are being hurt by someone you live with: Domestic Violence 1(800) 799-7233
The Mental Health Association of San Francisco offers a peer-run 24/7 support line at 1(855) 845-7415 or online chat at: https://www.mentalhealthsf.org/
CalHOPE is a no-cost call line. Call to talk about struggles and get support: 1(833) 317-HOPE (4673)
For a mental health appointment
Members can now use the phone or make video calls to reach therapy sessions and get help with medications from a psychiatrist when those services are needed.
- 24-Hour Behavioral Health Access Helpline 1(415) 255-3737 TDD 1(888) 484-7200
- Beacon Health Options 1(855) 371-8117
San Francisco’s community mental health programs are still open for mental health services. You can use the phone or make video calls to reach therapy sessions and get help with medications from a psychiatrist. It is better to call first rather than dropping in for sessions or for the first time. Call 1(415) 255-3737 TDD 1(888) 484-7200
Online tool to help with stress, loneliness, and other issues
myStrength is a self-help tool offered to SFHP members for free until September 2020. Learn More
If you would like help because you are drinking too much or using drugs call:
- Treatment Access Program 1(800) 750-2727
More resources for handling your stress
Our partner, Beacon has tips on how to care for yourself and your family during the coronavirus pandemic: Learn More
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) tips on handling your mental health:
Coping with stress: Learn More
Talking with children about COVID-19: Learn More
Virtual Behavioral Health Treatment (BHT)
Members who receive Behavioral Health Treatment (BHT) or Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) care can now use video chat for those services. BHT is a therapy that can help children with autism and some other behavior issues. Learn More
Last updated 8/6/2020
Getting Help with Basic Needs
City and community partners have put together lists of places to help you get food, money, housing and other basics. The links below lead to legal help, child care, diapers for children, shelter, meals and medicine delivery, friendly phone calls, and many more things.
Help getting food
Information and help for people needing food. Learn More
Help applying for public benefits
Apply for Calfresh (money for food), Calworks (money and aid for those with kids), Medi-Cal (health insurance), cash needs, and IHSS in-home support. Learn More
Help to stay in your home
Find legal help and current city rules to protect you from evictions. Learn More
Help with getting low cost internet
Find help with low cost internet service. Learn More
Help if someone is hurting you
Find help with shelters and services for people dealing with domestic violence. Learn More
Need help with more things? See the lists below:
For families with children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities
Families can find help with food, household bills, mortgage and rent, and unemployment. You can also find help with special education and learning at home.
Click here for a list from Support for Families of Children with Disabilities
For those experiencing homelessness
Our unsheltered neighbors and those working with them can find help with clothing, food, showers, hand washing sinks, legal help, and pet care
Click here for a list from Project Homeless Connect
For our undocumented neighbors
Find help with rent and cash needs
Click here for a list from Legal Aid at Work
Call 415-324-1011, anytime from 8am-8pm Monday-Saturday, to apply for $500 cash help through Catholic Charities. Read More
For our LGBTQ neighbors
Find help with rent, legal needs, trans led peer support
Click here for a list of LGBTQ community resources from the city
Help for teens and young adults
Youth-friendly support for sexual health, mental health, and help with housing, food, and safety. Learn More
For our neighbors living in District 6 (Tenderloin, South of Market, Midmarket/Civic Center, South Beach, Mission Bay, Treasure Island)
People in District 6 can find help with food, childcare, internet and computers, housing help, work, and unemployment
Click here for the District 6 COVID-19 Resource Guide
For anyone needing help
Both lists help with food, childcare, shelter, diapers, friendship lines, jobs, money support, rent help, legal help
UCSF Community Resources Read More
Mass resource list from the Freedom Community Clinic Read More
Help for older adults and people with disabilities
Find help with food and meal deliveries, help with home care, and friendship line.
Call 1(415) 355-6700 or go to the San Francisco Human Services agency website.
Social support for seniors
The Mon Ami Phone Bank offers friendly calls and groceries and delivery for people age 55 years and over. Sign up here or call 1(888) 985-6866
The Shanti Project can help you with food shopping and drop-off, medicine pickup and drop-off, dog walking, mail pick-up. Call the Department of Aging Services at 1(415) 355-6700
For anyone looking for health and wellness workshops
The YMCA is offering free online group exercise classes that are open to anyone. These classes are designed to help with staying active during shelter in place. Read More
Last updated 5/21/2020
Am I at High Risk?
We are still learning about the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. Based on what we know now, older adults and people of all ages who have certain health issues have a higher risk of serious illness. Serious or severe illness means that the person with COVID-19 might need to stay in the hospital, use a ventilator or they may even die.
On this page there is a list of health issues that put people at higher risk of getting seriously ill from the coronavirus. You’ll also learn about other health issues that might put people at a higher risk.
For each health issue, there is a link to learn about actions to take.
People of any age with these health issues are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease. Learn More
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Learn More
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from organ transplant. Learn More
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies. Learn More
- Sickle cell disease. Learn More
- Type 2 diabetes. Learn More
- Cancer. Learn More
Risk for Serious Illness is higher as you get older
As you get older, your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases. People in their 50s are at higher risk than people in their 40s. Also, people in their 60s or 70s are at higher risk than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for serious illness from COVID-19 is for people aged 85 or older. Learn More
Children who are at Higher Risk
Children with certain health conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children. These include nervous system conditions, genetic, metabolic conditions, and congenital heart disease. Children who have several chronic health problems at the same time are also at higher risk.
People with certain health issues might have a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
We are still learning about COVID-19, and there is limited data. Based on what we know now, people with these health issues might be at an increased risk of getting seriously sick from COVID-19:
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe). Learn More
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain). Learn More
- Cystic fibrosis. Learn More
- Hypertension (high blood pressure). Learn More
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant. Also because of HIV; use of steroids; or use of other medicines that weaken the immune system. Learn More
- Neurologic conditions, such as dementia. Learn More
- Liver disease. Learn More
- Pregnancy. Learn More
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues). Learn More
- Smoking. Learn More
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder). Learn More
- Type 1 diabetes. Learn More
Last updated 7/9/2020