Health and Wellness

Coronavirus Disease 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

About COVID-19

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a recently discovered coronavirus. It is a new strain of respiratory coronavirus that has not been found in humans before. COVID-19 was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. COVID-19 is now a pandemic that has spread widely in the United States and many countries around the world.

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is a new disease, and the CDC is still learning about how it spreads and the severity of illness caused by it.

It is thought that COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person:

  • The virus can spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, it can spread by their respiratory droplets.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies suggest that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Maintaining good social distance — about 6 feet — is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

For more details on how COVID-19 spreads, click here.  

Where can you get more details on COVID-19?

More facts can be found at:
CDC website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
Orange County Health Care Agency website: www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus

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Local Information Orange County Health Care Agency webpage with local details

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National Resources CDC website for both the public and health care providers

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may appear between 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

If you have these symptoms or a combination of symptoms, you may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least 2 of these symptoms:

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

Children have similar symptoms as adults and generally have mild illness.

The CDC says that the above list is not all-inclusive. Please talk with your primary care provider (PCP) for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

You can click here to use the CDC’s “Coronavirus Self Checker.”

Apple partnered with the CDC to develop a COVID-19 Screening Tool. Click here to use the tool.

Click here to view this list of COVID-19 symptoms on the CDC’s website.

When do you need to seek medical attention?

If you have any of these emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency. Notify the operator that you have — or think you may have — COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering or mask before medical help arrives.

This list is not all-inclusive. Please talk your primary care provider (PCP) for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

If you are sick, click here for steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Protect Yourself

How can you protect yourself and others from COVID-19?

Right now, there is no vaccine to prevent a COVID-19 infection.

Do these things to protect yourself and others:

  • Know how it spreads
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Wear a cloth face covering or face mask when you go out in public
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect things you touch every day

Click here for more details from the CDC.

Should you wear a face mask?

The CDC recommends that you wear cloth face coverings — or face masks — in public settings where social distancing is hard to do, such as grocery stores or pharmacies. Face masks help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. The U.S. Surgeon General shares a simple way to make a cloth face mask here.  

The CDC has more details, including how to clean it here.

Face masks and cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

How to Get Tested

Why does it take a while to get an appointment with a doctor?

Due to social distancing, doctors may have limited hours or limited appointments. We encourage you to ask your PCP if they provide phone or telehealth appointments.

How do you get tested for COVID-19?

COVID-19 testing may be restricted at times to high-priority groups, as defined by the California Department of Public Health or Orange County Public Health.

You need to follow these steps, in the order below. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

  1. Call your PCP to schedule a visit by phone or telehealth. Your PCP will decide if you meet the current testing criteria.
  2. If you meet the criteria and your PCP offers testing at their office, you need to schedule an appointment for you to be tested there.
  3. If you meet the criteria and your PCP does not offer testing, then you need to call your health network to make an appointment at your health network’s testing site.
  4. If both your PCP and health network do not offer testing, then call the Orange County COVID-19 Testing Network of clinics to make an appointment. You MUST make an appointment for testing with one of the clinics to ensure eligibility and availability of the testing.

For more details and a list of the Orange County COVID-19 Testing Network of clinics, click here. If you do not have a PCP or health network, please call CalOptima at the numbers below to choose a PCP and a health network.

Do you have to pay to get screened, tested and receive treatment related to COVID-19?

CalOptima has waived all costs for our members to get screened, tested and receive medically necessary treatment for COVID-19. If you are asked to pay, please call us at:

  • Medi-Cal: 1-888-587-8088
  • OneCare Connect: 1-855-705-8823
  • OneCare: 1-877-412-2734
  • PACE: 1-855-785-2584
  • TTY for Medi-Cal, OneCare Connect and OneCare: 1-800-735-2929
  • TTY for PACE: 1-714-468-1063

Are there drugs to treat COVID-19?

Many drugs are being studied, and the situation is quickly changing. On May 1, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for Remdesivir. It is an investigational antiviral drug for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease.

Testing for Essential Workers

Where can essential workers get free COVID-19 testing?

The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has made free COVID-19 PCR diagnostic testing appointments available at OptumServe (State) sites.

FREE COVID-19 Testing for Essential Workers

     

FREE COVID-19 Testing for Essential Workers

Appointments are available for FREE COVID-19 PCR diagnostic testing at OptumServe (State) sites in Buena Park, Orange, Santa Ana and San Juan Capistrano for symptomatic AND asymptomatic health care workers, first responders, social service workers and other essential employees who don’t have access to testing through their health care provider or employer. To make an appointment, please visit: lhi.care/covidtesting or call 1-(888)-634-1123.

To learn more about COVID-19 and testing, visit ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.  

Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

What is COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing?

COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing is underway with public health professionals from the OC Health Care Agency (HCA). They have training in communicable diseases and interviewing skills. They build a timeline of when the individual’s symptoms began and helps identify a list of potential contacts. They also check-in on them regularly, and offer personalized guidance based on their unique health history related to testing, treatment and care.

For details, see below.

Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

     

Health Advice

Who can you call for health advice?

If you need health advice, first call your doctor or your health network. If you cannot reach your doctor, you can talk to a nurse by phone to answer your COVID-19 questions

Call the CalOptima Nurse Advice Phone Line toll-free at 1-844-447-8441 to help you. TTY users can call toll-free at 1-844-514-3774. The Nurse Advice Phone Line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no cost to CalOptima members. Click here for more details.

Telehealth

Can you talk to your doctor by phone or telehealth visit?

If you are sick, please call your doctor to see if they offer telehealth visits by phone, video app, text or email. Instead of going to your doctor’s office, a telehealth visit allows you to talk with your doctor by phone or audio and video over the internet. Your doctor can use apps such as Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video or Skype.

Mental Health

Are you feeling down and alone during this time? Are mental health services available?

At CalOptima we understand that this may be a difficult time for you and your family. We are here to help you. For information on depression or to access mental health services, call the CalOptima Behavioral Health line at 1-855-877-3885. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users can call 1-800-735-2929. Mental health resources are also available online from Be Well OC here.  

During social distancing, do you have tips to socially interact?

Yes! Social distancing is one of the ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many of us are feeling stress, anxiety and frustration. Feelings of depression, boredom and loneliness can also happen. However, social distancing does not mean social isolation from our family, friends and others.

During social distancing, use these tips to socially interact:

  • Follow guidance from state and local authorities.
  • Keep 6 feet between you and others in public, even when wearing a face mask.
  • To stay in touch with people use your phone, email, text and social media.
  • To see friends and loved ones face to face, use video chat options like Skype or FaceTime.
  • Find ways to help others by checking on neighbors or dropping off food to the elderly.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help.
  • Allow people to help you.

At CalOptima, we understand that this may be a difficult time for you and your family. If you have questions about mental health services, call the CalOptima Behavioral Health line at 1-855-877-3885 to talk to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users can call toll-free at 1-800-735-2929. We are here to help you.

Are mental health visits available by telehealth?

Yes! Please call your mental health provider to see if they offer telehealth visits by phone, video app, text or email. Instead of going to your doctor’s office, a telehealth visit allows you to talk with your doctor by phone or audio and video over the internet. Your doctor can use apps such as Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video or Skype.

We are here to help you. If you do not have a mental health provider, call the CalOptima Behavioral Health line at 1-855-877-3885. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users can call 1-800-735-2929. Mental health resources are also available online from Be Well OC here.  

Refills on Medications

Do you have enough medications for other conditions?

CalOptima changed our rules so you can easily get medication(s) for your chronic conditions. You can request an early refill and a 90-day supply of medication. Contact your doctor to get a new prescription.

Disinfectant Products and Gloves

Does CalOptima cover disinfectant products and gloves through your pharmacy benefit?

Yes, due to COVID-19, CalOptima is temporarily covering disinfectant products listed below through your pharmacy benefit:

What is temporarily covered?

  • Gloves are a normal part of the formulary. The limit has increased to 200 gloves per month.
  • A limited number of disinfectant products such as isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and sodium hypochlorite (Dakin’s) are available. Quantity is limited to one 16 fl. oz. (473mL) bottle per month.
  • Some types of ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer products are covered.

What you must remember:

  • All products require a prescription.
  • Some products may require a prior authorization.
  • Pharmacies may not have items in stock.

If you have questions, please call us at:

  • Medi-Cal: 1-888-587-8088
  • OneCare Connect: 1-855-705-8823
  • OneCare: 1-877-412-2734
  • TTY for Medi-Cal, OneCare Connect and OneCare: 1-800-735-2929

Prior Authorizations

What can you do to get your prior authorization extended?

Please call CalOptima Customer Service at the numbers below to request an extension of your prior authorization.

Contact Us

How can you contact CalOptima?

CalOptima Customer Service remains ready to respond to your needs. Please call us from the safety of your home at these toll-free phone numbers:

  • Medi-Cal: 1-888-587-8088
  • OneCare Connect: 1-855-705-8823
  • OneCare: 1-877-412-2734
  • PACE: 1-855-785-2584
  • TTY for Medi-Cal, OneCare Connect and OneCare: 1-800-735-2929
  • TTY for PACE: 1-714-468-1063

Can you go to CalOptima’s office?

We are continuing to serve our members through our Customer Service phone numbers, as we adhere to guidelines to reduce the possibility of transmission. Our buildings are closed to visitors:

CalOptima
505 City Parkway West
Orange, CA 92868

PACE
13300 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

County Community Service Center
15496 Magnolia Street, Suite 111
Westminster, CA 92683

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Orange County Health Care Agency and CalOptima

Updated 6/19/2020

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