PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- "It's not time to panic, it's time to prepare!"
That's the message about coronavirus coming from Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, the director of Pasadena's Public Health Department.
She says being prepared is the reason her agency called a state of emergency after six more cases of COVID-19 were identified in Los Angeles County.
The goal is to streamline communication and the allocation of resources.
Goh explains the heightened alert status "allows health departments to mobilize resources more easily and be nimble to respond."
Public health officials also say now is the time for residents to start making their own emergency plans.
"What you would do is to arrange childcare. There are ways to work from home to accomplish what we call social distancing," Goh said.
Other advice: talk to your child's school district to find out what their plans are as well.
Expect changes at churches, where many religious leaders are refraining from hugs, handshakes, hand-holding and chalice-sharing.
Goh says it's helpful that the message of preparation is getting out to other groups, too.
"It's great to hear that there are organizations making plans for alternatives because they care about the people they serve," she said.
Flu activity is still rampant so if you are feeling any symptoms, doctors have some timely advice.
"First of all stay home, don't go to work, don't go to school. And if you need medical care, that means call your doctor first and tell them if you have any travel history or any contact with sick people and they can help you assess what level of care you need," Goh said.
Don't just show up at the doctor's office, because you could be spreading infection without realizing it.
And if you're experiencing trouble breathing or other types of respiratory distress or acute symptoms, Goh says your doctor will notify the proper health authorities.
"The clinician will call the local public health department and they will consult with us and we will help them make decisions as to whether that person needs to be tested."
Goh and her counterparts at the public health department in LA County are urging people to stay calm because hysteria and panic is not what our communities need.
Pasadena health official's advice for dealing with coronavirus: Prepare, don't panic
CIRCLE OF HEALTH