The purpose of this Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts, along with scams regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis, and fraudsters work to take advantage of the public in trying times.
- RUMOR: The military has been activated to help in Sacramento County (updated April 2)
FACTS: The California National Guard has been activated by the Governor to provide state-wide humanitarian needs in California. Within Sacramento County, Food banks have taken the lead on establishing a countywide food distribution system with focus on vulnerable populations. To this end Sacramento Food Bank and Elk Grove Food Bank requested and is receiving assistance from the California National Guard. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the food banks are experiencing significant increase in calls for food assistance. Contact Hands on Sacramento if you would like to donate or volunteer your time.
- RUMOR: I should stockpile groceries and supplies whenever I can. (updated April 3)
FACTS: Please only buy what your family needs for a week. It is important that you remember that other families may be unable to buy a supply of food and supplies for weeks in advance. Supply lines and distributions have not been disrupted. Consumer demand has just been extremely high, especially for groceries, household cleaning and healthcare products. Stores just need time to restock. Additionally, limiting your essential shopping trips to once a week or less and buying only what you need will help to stabilize product supplies within the stores.
- RUMOR: Only those 65 years and older or with underlying health conditions are at risk for coronavirus. (updated April 3)
FACTS: According to the CDC, those 65 years or older and/or have underlying health conditions are at higher risk, but anyone can still get COVID-19. According to data from Sacramento County Public Health, people between the ages of 18 and 49 actually make up the majority of those testing positive for COVID-19. Anyone can be a carrier to infect those who may not appear to have underlying medical issues, but actually do. Keep yourself, your family and your neighbors safe by following the CDC guidelines and Sacramento County Public Health Officer orders on minimizing exposure and slowing the spread.
- RUMOR: State parks are closed to visitors (updated April 3)
FACTS: The State of California continues to issue guidance on preparing and protecting Californians from COVID-19 and California State Parks are responding to that guidance by closing all 280 state parks temporarily to vehicular traffic. Parks are temporarily closed to the public, including indoor facilities such as museums, visitor centers and cafes. Campgrounds across the state have also been closed. Please visit the California State Parks website for additional detail or changes.
- RUMOR: Putting face coverings in the microwave is a great way to sterilize them.
FACTS: DO NOT put face coverings in the microwave. They are not left overs. Putting face coverings in the microwave will not sanitize the fabric, it will overheat the fabric and can start a fire.
- RUMOR: The House of Representatives is trying to pass a law called H.R. 6666 that will allow strangers to come in your house and take (by force if needed) your family members including your children to a quarantined area.
FACTS: If passed, H.R. 6666, which was introduced on May 1, 2020, will allocate $100 billion for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing by using mobile health units. The bill does not mention anything about forced testing, forced entry to people’s homes or the removal of family members to be quarantined. To learn more about contact tracing, check out this video by Sacramento County's Public Health Officer, Dr. Kasirye.
ScamsCybercriminals are abusing the panic of the COVID-19 global event. Fake websites, phishing campaigns, and Coronavirus themed malware have increased and are formulated to deceive you and steal your personal information. For tips on staying safe and secure online, visit the ReadyGov Cybersecurity page. To learn more about reporting COVID-19 related scams, visit the DOJ website.
- RUMOR: The Department of Justice is issuing cards under the Americans with Disabilities Act to allow certain individuals to not wear face coverings. (Updated 6/25/2020)
FACTS: The Department of Justice is not issuing flyers or cards and are not ensorsing that activity. We've been seeing claims from people who are going to cite the Americans With Disabilities Act as a reason for them to walk into any business they choose without a mask. They've printed home-made cards and are keeping them in their wallet or purse. The governor's mask mandate does have excemptions, including people with certain disabilities or health conditions. But a business or government agency is not forced to alow you inside. They can make reasonable accomodations.
Be vigilant against all threats and don’t become a victim to scammers during this unprecedented time. A text scam is making its way around the country. The text claims that you have come in contact with someone who has tested positive or is showing symptoms of the coronavirus. It says you must self-isolate and it directs you to click on a link for more information. Remember, don’t click any link if you receive a text of this kind, as it is not a message from an official agency.
Unlicensed Contractors: Be aware of unlicensed contractors. During this unprecedented time you might find yourself approached by someone looking to do work on your home. Before you say yes to any work being done on your property, make sure the person you want to hire has a valid license on file with California. Unlicensed workers may place false contractor license numbers on their vehicles to look legal, but if the number is faded, missing letters, or scratched out, ask for the state license.
A couple of tips to remember so you don’t fall victim:
- Hire only state-licensed contractors.
- Verify if a contractor is licensed and up-to-date on their Workman's Compensation Insurance online or by calling 800-321-2752.
Even if you are doing the work yourself while adhering to the stay at home order, find out if you need a permit from the County prior to starting any construction or remodeling.