Dealing with extreme weather during COVID-19

Stay safe from COVID-19 during extreme heat or when the air is unhealthy.

You may need to shelter indoors if there are wildfires or extreme temperatures. COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors, where air is shared. Use these tips to protect yourself and others from COVID at home or while in a clean air site or cooling center. 

We also have guidance for operating an extreme weather site.

Extreme heat

Extreme heat can be dangerous. Extreme heat can make you feel tired or worsen health conditions.  Heat stroke can be life-threatening. Older adults and other groups may be at greater risk from extreme heat. Many San Franciscans are not used to very hot weather. Many do not have access to air conditioning at home, or are experiencing homelessness. Know the warning signs for heat-related illness. 

Follow the guidance at sf72.org and follow tips for staying healthy in extreme heat. Visiting a cooling center can help you get out of the heat if you do not have air conditioning.

Keep safer from COVID-19 when visiting a cooling center:

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19, and boosted if you are eligible. 
  • You must wear a mask at the cooling center. We also strongly recommend wearing a mask while taking public transportation or a ride share to get there. 
  • Try to stay 6 feet apart from people who do not live with you.
  • Wash your hands when entering a home or shelter, before and after meals, and after using the bathroom. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Follow more advice on staying safe in public shelters.
  • Plan ahead for your needs during and after extreme weather, especially if you have medical needs or may have a hard time accessing services. Follow the CDC’s advice for how to prepare

Staying safe in the heat if you have COVID-19

If you are isolating due to COVID-19 or feel sick, you cannot use a cooling center or cleaner air site. If the heat is making you feel sick, please seek medical attention. 

If you do not have a place to isolate, the COVID-19 resource center can help. Call them at 628-652-2700. 

Wildfire smoke or unhealthy air

Smoke and ash from wildfires can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, and may make it harder to breathe. If you have COVID-19, wildfire smoke may make it worse.

Staying safe in unhealthy air if you have COVID-19

If you are isolating due to COVID-19 or feel sick, you cannot use a cooling center or cleaner air site. If you do not have a place to isolate, the COVID-19 resource center can help. Call them at 628-652-2700.

Know the difference between symptoms from smoke exposure and COVID-19.

 

Extreme heat and unhealthy air

If it is very hot and the air is unhealthy, cool down first before trying to get cleaner air. Heat is more dangerous for your health. For example, if it is extremely hot inside your home, you may need to open a window to let cooler air in, and put on a good mask to filter out unhealthy  air.

Last updated May 25, 2022