Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Local Updates on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The City of Whittier is seeking your assistance to help prevent the spread of the novel (new) coronavirus in Los Angeles County. Globally, there continues to be a growing number of people infected with this virus which causes “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated COVID-19) in mainland China and now elsewhere, including here in Los Angeles County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the spread of COVID-19 worldwide has reached pandemic levels and aggressive measures are necessary to preventing the spread of this infection locally. Therefore, the City of Whittier has declared a local state of emergency, consistent with federal and state declarations, effective March 17, 2020.
Governor Gavin Newsom has issued new Executive Orders advising Californians to Stay At Home and follow public health directives, including cancellation of public gatherings across the state until further notice. He declared a statewide hold on evictions in his most recent Executive Order, issued on March 27, stating that residents cannot be evicted from their homes effective immediately through May 31, 2020. It also requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19. The Whittier City Council took similar action during their telephonic meeting held March 24 and enacted a local moratorium on both residential and commercial evictions through May 31.
Additionally, the County of Los Angeles revised its Safer at Home Order on Saturday, March 21, 2020, which requires the closure of non-essential businesses including pubs, breweries and bars, gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, live entertainment venues, bowling alleys, golf courses and other similar types of establishments to limit congregate settings where the virus may be transmitted. Essential services still permitted to operate include grocery stores, pharmacies, financial institutions, gas stations and auto repair shops, healthcare services and others. Under provisions of the California Health and Safety Code, restaurants are now required to suspend dine-in service and limit their operations to takeout, drive-through or delivery service only, and all public, social and family gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are prohibited for the time being. Contact the County at (888) 700-9995 (8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) or by email to Ehmail@ph.lacounty.gov to report a business violation.
Public health officials have also issued two new Orders regarding self isolation and home quarantine of persons who have been diagnosed with or are likely to have COVID-19. The City of Whittier will continue to implement various measures in the coming days and weeks to respond to COVID-19 and preserve the health and safety of our community members. Essential City services including public safety and utilities like water, sewer and critical infrastructure will continue to be provided. However, the Parks, Recreation & Community Services department will issue refunds for pre-scheduled recreation classes and programs, and all upcoming spring sessions have been canceled. Dial-a-Ride service is available for medical appointments or grocery store visits only. On March 25, 2020, the County of Los Angeles Parks & Recreation Department officially closed all hiking trails and state beach parking lots to further enforce social distancing; view the newest Order regarding the closures here. Similarly, the Puente Hills Habitat Authority has also closed all local trails. Visit their website for more information and updates.
Local school closures throughout the Whittier community now extend into May, however many are still offering free meals for students and youth. Please visit the links below for information regarding each school district's scheduled meal distribution:
- Los Nietos School District
- East Whittier City School District
- Whittier City School District
- Lowell Joint School District
- Whittier Union High School District
Additionally, both branches of the YMCA of Greater Whittier are offering free meals for children and youth 0-18, as well as childcare with priority given to local parents who are first responders. Call (562) 907-6530 to learn more.
If you or a loved one has lost your job, or just need assistance, the County of Los Angeles has a number of ways to help. For help with accessing food, cash, health or in-home care programs, apply online at www.dpss.lacounty.gov. For assistance over the phone, call (866) 613-3777.
All City facilities are now closed to the public through April 19, 2020, and all City-sponsored events, including board, commission and committee meetings have been canceled until further notice. Please continue to check this information page regularly for new updates and continue to monitor guidelines from our local, state and federal public health agencies regarding virus detection and prevention. Contact the City of Whittier at (562) 567-9999 with additional inquiries and remember: we are in this together!
Understand how coronaviruses are spread
COVID-19 is likely to spread in the same way as other respiratory illnesses like influenza. It is thought to spread from an infected person who has symptoms to others by:
- Droplets produced through coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
Teach your family the importance of taking steps to prevent infection
There is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 at this time. Antibiotics only treat infections caused by bacteria so don’t work against the virus that causes COVID-19. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to take steps to avoid infection:
- Wash your hands often and do it thoroughly. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol for at least 20 seconds.
- Minimize close contact with others when possible.
- Limit close contact with people who are sick. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from someone who is sick – for example, if you see someone coughing, move away.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Do not share objects such as utensils, cups, food, and drink.
- Get a flu shot to protect against influenza.
Know the symptoms of COVID-19
Most people will have a mild or moderate illness and will get better without complications. Symptoms in children tend to be milder, but our understanding of this illness is continuing to evolve. We do know that some individuals, mainly older adults and members of the senior community, will become severely ill and need to go to the hospital.
- Difficulty breathing
Take extra care if you are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19
Some people are more likely to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19. This includes the elderly, people with HIV or cancer who may have weakened immune systems, and those with heart or lung disease. It is very important that these people take extra care to avoid close contact with other people who are sick and contact their healthcare provider immediately if they do become sick.
Know what to do if you become ill:
- Stay at home or go home as soon as possible if you begin to feel unwell, even if you have mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose. Stay home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or symptoms of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- Wash your hands well and often, for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue and clean your hands immediately. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
- Try to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Do not care for others if possible while you are sick.
- If you have pets, avoid contact including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food while you are sick.
- If you must care for people or pets while you are sick, wash your hands before and after.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Do not share objects such as utensils, cups, food, and drink as well as personal hygiene items like toothbrushes and towels.
- Get plenty of fluids.
- Over-the-counter cold and flu medications can reduce fever and help you feel better. Remember to follow the instructions on the package instructions. Note that these medicines do not stop you from spreading germs.
- Children should not be given medication that contains aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) because it can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye’s syndrome. Medicines without aspirin include acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®).
- Children younger than age 2 should not be given any over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a doctor.
- Seek medical care, if needed.
Watch for signs of serious symptoms such as worsening fever, rapid breathing, shortness of breath or dehydration (unable to keep fluids down).
Enhanced sanitation is very important! Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs, bannisters, countertops, toys, remote controls, faucet handles and phones. Use the usual cleaning agents and follow the label directions.
Consider the impact of COVID-19 on school, work, and other activities
School and childcare:
- Make sure that you are signed up to receive notices (such as robo-calls, and emails) from your school or childcare.
- Consider and prepare for how to manage childcare if there are closures, early dismissals or other changes to school activities.
- Ask your school how your child can continue to learn while they aren’t in school.
- Find out about leave policies at work, including if you need to have a doctor’s note.
- Ask about options to work from home if you have a job that might be suitable for teleworking.
Caring for others:
- Make a plan for taking care of family members who are elderly, disabled or sick if they, or their caregivers, become ill.
- For tasks or situations that cannot be avoided, stop and think through how you can protect yourself and others as much as possible. Strategies include the use of protective gear, keeping as much of a distance from people as you can and reducing the amount of time that you need to be in a high-risk situation.
Preparing at home
- Make sure that you know the phone number of your doctor’s office, local urgent care and ER facilities so that you can call them if you become sick instead of just showing up. Put important numbers on the fridge and in your phones.
- If you don’t already have a healthcare provider, the County information line 2-1-1 can help you to find one.
- Update your emergency kits with non-perishable food, water and essential supplies in case you need to stay home. As social distancing becomes a more viable measure to combat community transmission, the need to quarantine or avoid public places will become more necessary. Get your home ready in the case that you are in the house for an extended length of time.
- Have adequate supplies of prescription medications as well as over the counter medicines to help with cold and flu symptoms.
- If you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, read "Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks" on the Public Health website. For help, talk to your doctor or call the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Access Center 24/7 Helpline at (800) 854-7771.
Give the Gift of Blood Donation
Due to a severe blood shortage in the United States, residents are encouraged to give the gift of blood and to help preserve the health of our community. A single blood donation can save up to three lives and is a positive way to be of service and provide assistance to those in need during the COVID-19 crisis.
Anyone interested in providing a blood donation through the American Red Cross may attend one of the following local events:
- April 6, 8, 20 & 27: 12:00 - 6:00 p.m. @ Whittier Masonic Temple (7604 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier)
- Visit RedCrossBlood.org to make an appointment
- April 14: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. @ Whittier Area Community Church (8100 Colima Rd., Whittier)
The Nixon Foundation is also partnering with the American Red Cross and LifeStream Blood Bank to host four upcoming blood drives at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda. Below are dates, times, and links to register:
- April 2: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - American Red Cross - sign up here (Sponsor Code: NixonLibrary)
- April 16: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - American Red Cross - sign up here (Sponsor Code: NixonLibrary)
Please consider providing a life-saving blood donation during one of these events and share this information with friends and neighbors, or visit the American Red Cross online to find another blood drive near you.
Frequently Asked Questions
As residents in Los Angeles County practice “Safer at Home”, there are still a number of questions surrounding County directives. Below is a multilingual list of FAQs for distribution:
- English: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-SaferatHomeOrder.pdf
- Spanish: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-SaferatHomeOrder-Spanish.pdf
- Traditional Chinese: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-SaferatHomeOrder-TraditionalChinese.pdf
- Simplified Chinese: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-SaferatHomeOrder-SimplifiedChinese.pdf
- Korean: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-SaferatHomeOrder-Korean.pdf
- Arabic: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-SaferatHomeOrder-Arabic.pdf
- Cambodian: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-SaferatHomeOrder-Cambodian.pdf
Know where to get reliable information
Beware of scams, false news and hoaxes surrounding novel coronavirus. Accurate information, including announcements of new cases in LA County, will always be distributed by Public Health through press releases, social media, and the official LA County Public Health website. The website has more information on COVID-19 including FAQs, infographics and a guide to coping with stress, as well as tips on handwashing.
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH, County)
- Social media: @lapublichealth
- The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Access Center 24/7 Helpline (800) 854-7771
Other reliable sources of information about novel coronavirus are:
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH, State)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, National)
- World Health Organization (WHO, International)
If you have questions and would like to speak to someone, or need help finding medical care, call the Los Angeles County Information line 2-1-1 which is available 24/7. Please visit the City’s website regularly and follow @whittiercitygov on social media for additional updates on COVID-19.
Pandemic Preparedness Resources
Guide to Mitigation in Communities (Home, School, Worship, Work, Healthcare)
Advice for the Public & Flyer Downloads
Frequently Asked Questions
For Employers & Workplace
For Impacted Businesses: SBA Disaster Loan Assistance Application & Information
For Faith-Based Institutions
For Schools, Childcare & Higher Education