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 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.
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.
- Track the air quality.
- Follow tips from the CDC on how to prepare and what to do when the air is unhealthy.
- You can create a cleaner air space at home by closing all windows and doors to keep wildfire smoke out. Follow these tips for how to clean the air inside your home and pick an air cleaner. A good filter for your HVAC will help, if your HVAC system can handle it.
- Wear a mask when you go outside if the air is unhealthy. Follow advice for which types of masks have better filtration. A mask with better filtration is even more important when the air is unhealthy.
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.
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.