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State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

March 18, 2020


Immigrant Communities Guidance

This guidance is no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only. 

  • Public health is focused on ensuring all individuals, regardless of their immigration status, are protected from the outbreak and receive appropriate testing and treatment.
  • Individuals should follow the guidance of our public health professionals and seek testing and treatment when necessary.
  • For families that are concerned about the "public charge" rule, immigration officials have confirmed that they will neither consider testingtreatment, nor preventative care related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination, even if provided or paid for by one or more public benefits considered under the rule including Medi-Cal.
  • The rule also excludes consideration of public health assistance for immunizations and for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, whether or not such symptoms are caused by a communicable disease.
  •  It's critical that families seek testing and treatment as necessary to support the health and well-being of themselves and their loved ones.
  • Please don't forgo treatment out of fear, as the consequences may be very serious.
  • If you have questions or concerns about the public charge rule, an immigration or public benefits attorney can give you advice based on your individual situation. For further information, please see the below resources, including a list of non-profit legal services providers located across California:
    Qualified "public charge" non-profit assistance
    Public Charge: Does this apply to me? English(PDF)

Amharic (PDF) | Arabic (PDF) | Burmese (PDF) | Chinese (PDF) | French (PDF) | Haitian (PDF) | Hindi (PDF) 

Hmong (PDF) | Korean (PDF) | Spanish (PDF) | Tagalog (PDF) | Vietnamese (PDF)

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Stay home when sick.

  • Remain at home until fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  • Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe, e.g., high fever or difficulty breathing. 

Use "respiratory etiquette".

  • Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve. See CDC's Cover Your Cough page  for multilingual posters and flyers, posted at the bottom of webpage.

Wash hands frequently.

  • Encourage hand washing by individual, caregivers, family, and friends.
  • Provide hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol to supplement hand washing.

Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Prevention Graphics

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
California Department of Public Health
California Immigrant Guide

What Should You Do If You Think Your Sick?

If you have health insurance through your employer, Medi-Cal or Covered California, or another source:

Call ahead: If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your healthcare provider first before seeking medical care so that can advise you on next steps.

The State of California is taking some steps to ensure that cost does not inhibit an enrollee's access to medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19. This includes instructing health insurance plans and health insurance companies regulated by the state that they should waive any cost-sharing for all medical necessary screening and testing for COVID-19. The State does not regulate certain health insurance plans offered through employment or the Medicare program. If you are concerned about the potential cost of screening and testing for COVID-19, please contact your health insurance company.

If you don't have health insurance:

Call ahead: If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, please call your local county public health department or your usual source of health care for additional instructions for any screening or testing.

Your information is confidential and will only be utilized to limit further spread of the virus and support appropriate treatment. 

Originally Published on March 18, 2020