Questions & Answers for our Members about Covid-19/Coronavirus

If you are worried about the coronavirus, you are not alone. CenCal Health is doing everything possible to help our members understand and deal with this outbreak. Read below for common questions and helpful resources.

What is the novel coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus is a new virus that can cause a serious illness in some people called COVID-19. Every day, there is more news about COVID-19 as health agencies learn more about it, how it is spread, and how it is treated.

Where can I get up-to-date information?

For the latest information, check these credible sources.

You can also follow us on social media for the latest information on accessing care.

Who is at greatest risk for serious illness?

Most people who get COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms and get better without direct medical care from their doctor. But the elderly, people with compromised immune systems or other medical conditions like diabetes or asthma are at a greater risk for becoming seriously ill and should be extra careful.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?

The most common symptoms are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Call your Primary Care Provider (PCP) if you have these symptoms. Do not go directly to your PCP’s office, or to urgent care. This is to prevent spreading the virus to others. If you have trouble breathing, call 911 or go to the Emergency Room.

lungs corona

Is there a vaccine to prevent COVID-19?

There is no COVID-19 vaccine yet. That is why we all must do our best to prevent getting it and spreading it to others.

How does the coronavirus spread?

The virus spreads from person to person, but also can be spread on shared surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, and handrails.

How can I protect myself from the coronavirus?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. On March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order. Everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. When you go out, like to a grocery store, leave six feet of space between you and another person. This is called “social distancing.”

What else can you do?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • When going out into public, wear a cloth to cover your nose and mouth, especially if you might get close to people, like in the store.

  • Can I still go to the doctor, pharmacy, or Emergency Room when I am “social distancing”?

    Yes—the best thing to do is call ahead. Your PCP’s office or pharmacy might have emergency measures in place to reduce spreading the virus, or they might have reduced hours.


    Is CenCal Health Member Services still open?

    Yes! Member Services is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have questions about getting care, medications, or other health services during the COVID-19 outbreak, please call Member Services at 1-877-814-1861. For the hard of hearing, please call the CA Relay at 711 or the CenCal Health TTY at 1-833-556-2560. The call is toll-free.

    Because we are receiving so many calls, you may have to be on hold longer than usual. We are sorry about this. Thank you for understanding. You can also check our Members section for the information you are looking for.

    Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

    Call your PCP if you have the symptoms described in the “What are COVID-19 symptoms?” section. Your PCP will decide whether or not you need to be tested. Because some symptoms are similar to the flu and strep throat, your PCP may test you for those first. If your PCP decides you should receive a COVID-19 test, they will tell you where to go and how to get it.

    Will CenCal Health cover the cost of tests and treatment of COVID-19?

    There is no cost to be tested for COVID-19. If you test positive for COVID-19, CenCal Health will pay for treatment.

    If I am staying home, I may need more of my prescription drugs. What should I do?

    You can get up to a 90-day supply of your routine, non-narcotic medication. This means medicine that you need to take every day. Your pharmacist can get you an emergency fill or refill of your medication without having to contact CenCal Health for approval. You can get this either from your local pharmacy or through prescription transfer to our mail order pharmacy. See below for more details on mail order pharmacy.

    • CenCal Health also has a list of pharmacies that can deliver medications to you at no cost. Download the list here
    • You can also get your prescription drugs through the mail. Click here to find out how.
    • If you need help getting your prescription, call Member Services.

    Where should I go if I feel sick?

    If you feel sick, the first thing you should do is call your PCP. Their number is on your member ID card. Tell your PCP your symptoms, and they will tell you what to do, or where to go. Tell your PCP if you think you have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and if you have developed a fever and other symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing.


    If you feel you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room. If you need to go to the emergency room, call ahead so they can prepare for your arrival. If you need to call 911, tell the 911 operator you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms so the ambulance provider can prepare to treat you safely.

    mental health corona bar

    Can I Still get Mental Health Care?

    mental health englishDuring the COVID-19 epidemic, CenCal Health members can still get mental health care by phone or by video. Members with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.

    CenCal Health works with The Holman Group to get members to the right kind of doctor. Members can call them at 1-800-321-2843, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    If you have both Medi-Cal and Medicare insurance, you cannot get mental health care through The Holman Group. Instead, you can get mental health care from a Federally Qualified Health Center, the county mental health department, or through another health care provider that accepts Medicare.

    Members with Medicare can go to, click on Doctors & Clinicians and search for Mental Health clinicians near them.

    If you are assigned to the primary care providers (PCPs) below, you can get mental health services from a mental health provider at the clinic in-person, by phone, or by video by calling your PCP office directly:

    • American Indian Health & Services
    • Community Health Centers of the Central Coast
    • Santa Barbara County Health Care Centers
    • Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics
    • Santa Ynez Tribal Health Center

    If you have a mental health emergency, please call 911 or call your county mental health department’s Crisis line anytime, day or night:

    Santa Barbara County: 1-888-868-1649

    San Luis Obispo County: 1-800-783-0607

    You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    1-800-273-8255 or text HELLO to 741-741

    Do not go to the Emergency Department unless you believe you are experiencing a life-threatening condition or the 911 operator, your PCP, or the Crisis line operator tells you to. This is to prevent you from being exposed to COVID-19.

    Update 5/5/20 - If you are pregnant, learn about important prenatal care you need during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here.

    Update 4/28/20 - Your child still needs well-care, like check-ups and shots, during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here for a list of well-care your child needs. If you have questions, call your doctor. 

    Update 4/06/20 – Additional guidance on covering your face as protection here.

    Update 3/31/20 – 90-day prescription refills available. Click here to read.

    Update 3/30/20 – Mental health care during COVID-19. Click here to read.