General Information

The Merced County Department of Public Health is closely following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health on the novel (new) nCoV virus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes diseases of varying severities, ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory disease.

Do not go to your provider’s office without calling ahead. Do not call 911 for suspected COVID-19 unless you are having a medical emergency.

Take the CDC Self-Screening Evaluation


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Severe Illness

At-Risk Groups

  • Older Adults
  • Individuals with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems

How is Coronavirus Spread

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

Novel coronavirus is new, and we are continuing to learn about spreading  patterns and incubation periods


There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the 2019-nCoV infection. People with symptoms should contact their providers.

 For more information on existing anti-viral treatments please visit Anti-Viral Therapeutics | CDPH.

There are currently three different COVID-19 vaccines available to the public.

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has full FDA approval for ages 16 and older and emergency use authorization for ages 5 to 15.
  • The Moderna vaccine has full FDA approval for individuals 18 years of age and older.  and
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been approved by the FDA for emergency use for ages 18 and older.

The CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when possible. Consult with your medical provider in order to understand the benefits and risks to help you decide which vaccine is right for you. The most important decision is to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. 

Please visit Get the Facts on Vaccines | CDPH for more information.

For COVID-19 booster vaccines are recommended following their primary vaccination series for specific populations outlines below: 

  • Ages 12-17: A Booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine is available to people who received their second dose of Pfizer at least 5 months ago. 
  • Age 18+: People in this age group can receive a Booster dose of their choice if the minimum time has passed since completing their primary vaccine series:
    1. Pfizer or Moderna - Received second dose at least 5 months ago
    2. Johnson & Johnson - Received single dose at least 2 months ago

It is recommended that if you received a J&J vaccine, you strongly consider a Pfizer or Moderna booster.   

For more information on COVID-19 vaccine boosters please visit Vaccine Boosters | CDPH.

Key Points

  • Novel Coronavirus is a new virus that hasn’t been identified before in humans.
  • Coronavirus can spread through close personal contact, or by touching an object of surface with the virus on it.
  • Use prevention measures that work to prevent other respiratory infections to prevent novel Coronavirus.
  • The Merced County Department of Public Health is taking steps to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in Merced County.
  • Merced County Public Health encourages those that are eligible to get vaccinated to visit or call (833) 422-4255.

Information for Healthcare Professionals

For information visit: Healthcare Workers: Information on COVID-19 | CDC

Additional Information on Coronavirus

Guidance for Healthcare Professionals

  • Johns Hopkins University & Medicine have developed a tracking system using real-time data that tracks COVID-19 cases around the world and in the United States. The link to this resource is located here:
    John Hopkins COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Global Cases Map

  • An easy to use flowchart was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for practitioners to utilize with patients who may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be accessed here:
    Flowchart To Identify And Assess 2019 Novel Coronavirus

  • On March 24, the CDC released their latest update to guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens in relation to COVID-19 patients.  Updates include allowance for self- or healthcare worker-collected nasal swabs, and an updated infection control link to COVID-specific guidance.  The updated guidance is located here:
    Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens

  • The CDC has released guidance for healthcare workers and healthcare facilities on how to properly manage healthcare operations during COVID-19. Please visit the following website for more information:
    Managing Healthcare Operations During COVID-19

  • The California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division has developed a single platform for all information releases relating to COVID-19 and community care organizations. The site can be accessed here:
    Stay Informed on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)