Coronavirus Resources


Coronavirus (COVID-19) General 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.

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:

Symptoms
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
  •   Fever
  •   Chills
  •   Muscle pain
  •   Headache
  •   Sore Throat
  •   New loss of taste or smell
  • Feeling very tired or weak
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

 

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.

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

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

Testing

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.

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

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.

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 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

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/

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

Mental Health Association Peer-run Warm Line / Friendship line  Click Here »

Non-emergency mental and emotional support. You can call or video chat any time of the day or night. Call 1(855) 845-7415.

Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Coordinated Entry and Community Access Points  Click Here »

Programs and housing opportunities for people dealing with homelessness. You can also call 1(415) 487-3300 ext 7000.

GLIDE  Click Here »

In-person services like to-go free meals program, COVID-19 testing, harm reduction clinic, and walk-in resource center. Case management, legal help, Men in Progress classes and Family Resource Center all by phone or online.

St. Anthony’s  Click Here »

Resources like clothing, food, and spaces to wash hands and refill water bottles. Fresh meals can be picked up curbside and free clothing can be scheduled over the phone.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)  Click Here »

IHSS workers help adults with disabilities and older adults with daily living activities like cooking, cleaning, bathing, and food shopping.

Catholic Charities  Click Here »

Housing support, like help with rent, housing case management, and homelessness prevention.

Causa Justa Click Here »

Free tenant advice and help getting city and legal resources for low-income people in San Francisco through their SF Tenant Rights Drop-In Clinic over the phone. That number is 1(510) TENANTS / 1(510) 836-2687.

Behavioral Health Access Center (BHAC)  Click Here »

Help with substance abuse treatment and mental health care in San Francisco. BHAC has a 24-Hour Access Helpline to reach therapy sessions, emotional support groups, group therapy, case management and help with medication from a psychiatrist when needed. You can call: 1(415) 255-3737 TDD 1(888) 484-7200, any time of the day or night. 

Project Open Hand  Click Here »

Healthy meals for people who are sick and facing a lack of food.

SF Marin Food Bank  Click Here »

Free culturally-fit and easy-to-access foods for people who need support.

COVID-19 Vaccine


COVID-19 Vaccine is Here

The vaccine is one of the most important ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. But supplies are limited.

The vaccine is planned to be available to everyone by the end of 2021. It will be at doctor’s and dental offices, clinics, pharmacies, or high-volume community sites.

When it’s your turn, step up for your health, the health of your loved ones, and of your community. The vaccine and other steps, like masks and social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you), will slow the spread of COVID-19.

Vaccine Distribution Phases – Updated 3/30/2021

PHASE 1A

  • Healthcare workers
  • Long-term care residents

Now Vaccinating

PHASE 1B

  • People ages 65 and over
  • Sector Populations:
    • Agriculture and Food
    • Education and Childcare
    • Emergency Services

Now Vaccinating

Now Vaccinating

  • Individuals 50 or older
    Now Vaccinating
  • Individuals 16 or older
    Starts April 15, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine – Frequently Asked Questions

Will a COVID-19 vaccine protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines work by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.

Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you do not have an increased risk of having severe problems. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Is the vaccine free?

Yes. The vaccine is free of charge. No one can be denied a vaccine because they cannot pay.

Read more at the Department of Managed Health Care’s Know Your Health Care Rights.

I heard there are different COVID-19 vaccines. Which one will I get?

We do not have a way of knowing which vaccine you will get at the time of scheduling, but you can ask at your appointment.

More information about each vaccine can be found on the CDC website here.

How many doses are needed?

  • Two doses for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 21 days apart.
  • Two doses for the Moderna vaccine, 28 days apart.
  • One dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

After I get the vaccine, can I act like the pandemic is over?

No. Once you have received the full vaccine (one or two doses depending on the type) you should still wear a mask and stay 6 feet from people who do not live with you. Researchers are not sure if vaccinated people can still spread COVID-19 to others.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the United States have gotten COVID-19 vaccines under the strongest safety monitoring in U.S. history. The CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible. More information on vaccine safety can be found here.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine impact my day to day life?

After getting the vaccine, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. Also, you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more aboutwhat to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Will I get an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?

Serious allergic reactions are very rare. You can learn about allergic reactions here.

When will I be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You can learn when it will be your turn to get the vaccine here.

How much time does it take to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Scheduling the vaccine most often only takes a few minutes, and the appointment will take about half an hour. If you do not have health questions, it is good for you and your community to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is your turn.

If you do have health questions, please contact your primary care provider (PCP). Your PCP is the doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant who is in charge of your health care.

If you would like help finding the phone number of your primary care provider, please call SFHP customer service at 1(415) 547-7800.

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.

Do I need to take a test before scheduling my COVID-19 vaccine?

No. If you feel healthy with no symptoms, and do not have a known COVID-19 exposure, there is no need to take a test.

Can I bring a family or household member to get the vaccine with me?

If your family or household member is also eligible and able to go to the same site, you can try to make appointments close to each other in order to go together.

Will I have to give any personal information to get the vaccine?

You will likely need to give your name, birthday, health plan ID number, and address to schedule the vaccine. If you do not know your health plan ID number, we can look it up for you.

Will I need to give my Social Security Number to schedule the vaccine?

You will not need to give your social security number to schedule the vaccine. The San Francisco Health Plan and your primary care provider already have the number, and the place where you get the vaccine will view it when they give you the vaccine.

Should I get the vaccine if I just had COVID-19, if I am pregnant, or if I have other health questions?

If you have any questions about the vaccine and your health, please talk to your primary care provider (PCP). Your PCP is the doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant who is in charge of your health care.

If you would like help finding the phone number of your primary care provider, please call SFHP customer service at 1(415) 547-7800.

I just had COVID-19, should I get the vaccine?

Yes, you should get the vaccine even if you already had COVID-19. That is because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after having COVID-19. Even if you have already had COVID-19, it is possible, while rare, that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting the vaccine is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your primary care provider if you are not sure what treatments you received or if you have questions about getting the vaccine.

I was just exposed to COVID-19, should I wait to get the vaccine?

If you have been exposed, follow the CDC quarantine guidelines before getting the vaccine.

I am not feeling well, is it safe to get the vaccine?

No. People who have COVID-19 or who have symptoms should wait until they have recovered and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation. People who were exposed who don’t have symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. Talk to your primary care provider if you have any questions.

If I have an underlying health condition, or other health questions, should I get the vaccine?

If you have a health condition or any health-related questions about getting the vaccine, you can talk with your primary care provider.

If I am pregnant, can I get the vaccine?

Yes. If you are pregnant, you may choose to get the vaccine when it is available to you. There is no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problem with pregnancy.

If you have questions about getting the vaccine, talking with your primary care provider might help you make an informed decision. Learn more about vaccine considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

I am usually very healthy, do I need to get the vaccine?

Since COVID-19 is a new disease, it is better at getting people sick than other diseases, like a common cold. If you do not have health questions for your PCP, it is a good idea to get vaccinated both for you and your community.

Healthy Workers HMO Vaccine Information


Vaccination for Healthcare Workers and Caregivers

The vaccine is now available for all healthcare workers (HCWs) and caregivers in all tiers of Phase 1A.

Phase 1A is for all HCWs and home care workers who could be exposed to patients or infectious materials.

Lower-risk healthcare workers like staff who don’t often come into contact with patients will be offered the vaccine in Phase 1B.

There are different ways to get the vaccine based on where you work.

To learn more about how to get the vaccine for healthcare workers, click here.

Medi-Cal Vaccine Information


When Can I Get the Vaccine?

The general public will likely not have access to the vaccine until later in 2021, when we have more vaccines from the state. Most people will receive the vaccine from their healthcare provider. We are working with healthcare providers to set up high volume sites. We are also bringing vaccination clinics to neighborhoods most impacted by the virus.

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco, click here.

Videos


Jack, 99-year-old San Franciscan, Gets His COVID-19 Vaccine

IHSS Appreciation & Vaccine Message from Mayor London Breed

COVID-19 Vaccine – Facts (Vaccinate All 58)

What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine: Side Effects, Distribution and Differences