Coronavirus Resources

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:

When to Contact Your Doctor

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:

  •   Cough
  •   Shortness of breath or hard time breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  •   Fever
  •   Chills
  •   Repeated Shaking with chills
  •   Muscle pain
  •   Headache
  •   Sore Throat
  •   New loss of taste or smell

There may be other symptoms as well. Please call your health provider 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

There is no cost to SFHP members for needed screening, testing, or health care for COVID-19.

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.

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

If you have any of these emergency warning signs get medical help right away

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
  • New confusion or inability to wake up
  • Bluish lips or face

Please talk with your health provider for any other 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

Testing

If you want to get tested for the coronavirus, please call your health provider.

You can find out about coronavirus testing at the city’s website. Learn More

Is there a vaccine or a treatment?

So far, there is no vaccine to prevent the disease caused by the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

There are also no medicines or treatments that have been proven to treat 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

Wash Hands

Washing hands well is one of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19.

To learn more, see the CDC’s Handwashing web page or watch this video that shows all the steps to washing hands well.

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

Last updated 5/6/2020

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.

Pharmacy Help

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 ItemLimit
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
  • Call for help over the phone if your emotions make it hard for you to do the things you normally do

Read More

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/

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

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 4/23/2020

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 1(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

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 (COVID-19), which affects the lungs and other organs. Based on what we know now, older adults and people of all ages who have certain health conditions might have a higher risk of getting very sick from the coronavirus.

On this page you’ll learn which health issues might put people at higher risk of getting seriously ill from the coronavirus. You’ll also learn about steps to take to protect yourself if you have one of these health issues.

Some of these things may be linked to higher risk:

  • Smoking
  • Asthma
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
  • Severe obesity
  • Being 60 and older
  • Living in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Weakened immune system /low ability to fight infection
  • Liver disease

For more about each high risk group, please see the CDC’s webpage.

 

 Smoking

Smoking may put people at higher risk for getting very sick from the coronavirus.

Actions to take if you smoke:

  • Get support to stop smoking. Call your health provider for help.
  • If you are thinking of quitting you can learn more at the CDC quitting smoking webpage.
  • You can also call the California Smoker’s Helpline at 1-800-NO BUTTS (1-800-662-8887)

Why you might be at higher risk
People who smoke who get COVID-19 may be much more likely to need intensive treatment compared with people who do not smoke.

 

 Asthma

Moderate-to-severe asthma may put people at higher risk for getting very sick from the coronavirus.

Actions to take if you have asthma:

  • Follow your Asthma Action Plan. If you don’t have an Asthma Action Plan, talk with your doctor. Learn More
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.
  • Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke in your home.
  • Keep taking your medicines, such as inhalers with steroids in them (steroids are also called corticosteroids).
  • Ask for a 90-day supply of your medicines from your pharmacy to make sure you have enough at home.
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.
  • Know how to use your inhaler(s). These videos show how to use an inhaler: Watch CDC videos
  • Stay away from your asthma and allergy triggers as much as you can. Learn More
  • If you can, have someone who lives with you, who doesn’t have asthma, clean and disinfect the place where you live. When they clean, have them:
    • Make sure that people with asthma are not in the room.
    • Try not to use cleaning products with strong smells, because these can start an asthma attack.
    • Open windows or doors and use a fan that will move air to the outside.
    • Follow instructions on product labels.
    • Spray or pour spray products onto a cleaning cloth or paper towel instead of spraying onto the surface that is being cleaned (if the product label says that this is safe).

Why you might be at higher risk
The coronavirus can affect your nose, throat, and lungs, cause an asthma attack, and could lead to pneumonia and serious sickness.

 

 Chronic Lung Disease

Lung diseases may put people at higher risk getting very sick from the coronavirus. These diseases include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including emphysema and chronic bronchitis; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; and cystic fibrosis.

Actions to take if you have chronic lung disease:

  • Keep taking your medicines, such as those with steroids in them (“steroids” are also called corticosteroids).
  • Ask for a 90-day supply of medicines from your pharmacy to make sure you have enough at home.
  • Stay away from things that make your symptoms worse.
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.
  • Smoking can put you at higher risk for lung disease. There is support if you are thinking of quitting. Learn More

Why you might be at higher risk
Based on data from other respiratory infections caused by viruses, the coronavirus might cause flare-ups of chronic lung diseases. This could lead to severe sickness.

More about lung diseases from the World Health Organization.

 

 Diabetes

Diabetes, (type 1, type 2, or gestational), may put people at higher risk of getting very sick from the coronavirus.

Actions to take if you have diabetes:

  • Keep on taking your diabetes pills and/or insulin as usual.
  • Test your blood sugar as often as our doctor or nurse practitioner has recommended, and keep track of the results.
  • Ask for a 90-day supply of your diabetes pills and insulin from your pharmacy to make sure you have enough at home.
  • Follow the sick day guidelines for people with diabetes, which can help you prepare for getting sick and to take care of yourself if you become ill. Learn More
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.

Why you might be at higher risk
People with diabetes who often have higher blood sugar levels than their target are more likely to have health problems linked to diabetes. Those health problems can make it harder to recover from the coronavirus.

 

 Serious Heart Conditions

Heart failure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, pulmonary hypertension, and other heart issues may put people at higher risk for getting very sick from the coronavirus.

Actions to take if you have serious heart conditions:

  • Take your medicine exactly as prescribed.
  • Ask your pharmacy for a 90-day supply of medicines (like those to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure).
  • If you have high blood pressure, keep taking steps to control blood pressure and take medicines as prescribed.
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.

Why you might be at higher risk
COVID-19, like other sicknesses causes by viruses such as the flu, can harm your lungs. This makes it harder for your heart to work. For people with heart failure and other serious heart problems this can lead to a worsening of problems from the coronavirus.

 

 Chronic Kidney Disease Being Treated With Dialysis

Kidney disease with dialysis may raise the risk of getting very sick from the coronavirus.

Actions to take if you are on dialysis:

  • You should NOT miss your dialysis.
  • If you need non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) to get to your appointments, call your doctor or nurse practitioner’s office. Ask them to fill out the NEMT form and send it to the San Francisco Health Plan.
  • Talk to your dialysis clinic and your healthcare provider if you feel sick or have questions.
  • Plan to have enough food on hand to follow the KCER 3-Day Emergency Diet Plan for dialysis patients in case you are unable to maintain your normal treatment schedule.

Why you might be at higher risk
People on dialysis are more at risk for infection and getting very sick because of weakened immune systems (the body system that protects against sickness and germs); treatments used to manage kidney failure; and coexisting health issues like diabetes. Learn More

 

 Severe Obesity

Severe obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above, puts people at higher risk for getting very sick from the coronavirus.

Actions to take if you have severe obesity:

  • Take your medicines for any health problems exactly as prescribed.
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.

Why you might be at higher risk
Severe obesity raises the risk of a serious breathing problem called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This syndrome is a major complication of the coronavirus and can make it hard for doctors to provide lung health and breathing support for people who are very ill.

Having chronic diseases and other health issues can raise the risk of getting very sick from the coronavirus.

 

 People Aged 60 Years and Older

Older adults, 60 years and older, are at higher risk for getting very sick and dying from the coronavirus.

Actions to take if you are 60 or older:

  • Take your medicines for any health problems exactly as prescribed.
  • Ask your pharmacy for a 90-day supply of medicines to make sure you have enough at home.
  • Follow the advice of your health provider.
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.
  • Make a care plan that sums up your health issues and current treatments.
  • Make a plan to stay home until the shelter-in-place order ends using this checklist. For updates about the shelter-in-place order, please see the News and Updates section at the top right of this webpage.

Why you might be at higher risk
Even though the coronavirus can affect any group, the older you are, the higher your risk of getting very sick. Eight out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 60 years or older. Risk of death is highest among people 85 years or older.

The immune system weakens with age, making it harder to fight off infections. Also, older adults often have chronic diseases that can raise the risk of getting very sick from the coronavirus.

 

 People who live in a nursing home or long term care facility

Many cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have occurred among older adults living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

Actions to take if you live in a nursing home:

  • Follow your facility’s instructions to protect against infection.
  • Tell staff right away if you feel sick.
  • Ask about the actions that are being taken at your facility to protect you, such as limiting guests.
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.

Why you might be at higher risk
The style of living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, as well as the people served (mostly older adults often with other health issues), put those living in nursing homes at higher risk of infection and getting very sick from the coronavirus.

 

 Weakened Immune System (Low Immunity)

Many health problems and treatments can cause a person to have a weakened immune system (the body system that protects against germs and disease). Some of these are cancer treatment, transplant medications, immune deficiencies, HIV, and long-term use of corticosteroids and other medicines that weaken the immune system.

Actions to take if you have a weakened immune system:

  • Keep using any prescribed medicines and follow the advice of your health provider.
  • Ask your pharmacy for a 90-day supply of medicines to make sure you have enough at home.
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.

Why you might be at higher risk
People with a weakened immune system have a harder time fighting diseases caused by germs, such as viruses like the coronavirus.

We are still learning about the new coronavirus. Based on viruses like it, there is worry that people with low immunity may be able to spread the coronavirus for longer than other people.

 

 Liver Disease

Chronic liver disease, like cirrhosis, may raise the risk of getting very sick from the coronavirus.

Actions to take if you have liver disease:

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed.
  • Ask your pharmacy for a 90-day supply of medicines to make sure you have enough at home.
  • Call your health provider if you have questions or feel sick.

Why you might be at higher risk
Severe sickness caused by the coronavirus and the medicines used to treat COVID-19 can cause strain on the liver. This is especially true for those who have liver problems.

People living with serious liver disease can have a weakened immune system, leaving the body less able to fight the coronavirus.

 

Last updated 5/6/2020

   News & Updates

May Update to Shelter in Place Order

In March, San Francisco issued a Shelter in Place health order requiring people to stay in the place where they live. The order was created to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

In May of 2020 the city updated the health order. The order requires most people to stay home until May 31, 2020. The city’s Health Officer may shorten or extend the order.

People can still leave home to get food, care for family or a friend, get needed health care, or go to an essential job.

The May order has some new changes. Read More »

The city answers questions about the Shelter in Place order. Read More »

Last updated 5/15/2020

New Requirement to Wear Face Coverings

A new 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 new health order about face covering. Read More »

You can also find information on how to make and use cloth masks at the CDC’s web page on face coverings. Read More »

Last updated 4/23/2020