Health officials in San Joaquin County are awaiting test results to determine whether a suspected case of measles reported in Manteca on Monday can be confirmed.
Patients in the pediatric clinic at Kaiser Permanente’s Manteca Medical Center were checked on Monday after officials isolated a suspected case of the highly-contagious disease and notified the San Joaquin County Public Health Services of what was happening.
“There was a brief hold on some patients visits in our Manteca Medical Center pediatrics clinic today and some appointments in our pediatrics clinic were rescheduled, while we assessed and isolated a potential case of measles, and checked members’ and patients’ immunization status before they departed the area,” Chyresse Hill of Kaiser Permanente’s Public and Media Relations wrote in a release Monday evening. “Our facility is open and in regular operation.
“Please note that we are not and never were on ‘lockdown.’”
Officials at the San Joaquin County Public Health Department stressed that the suspected case was not confirmed, and that they were waiting for further confirmation before making an announcement. According to Krista Dommer, the Coordinator of Public Information and Communication for SJPHS, the healthcare provider who reported the finding on Monday has protocols and policies in place and that the agency simply advises and provides oversight for management in the event of a confirmation.
Word about the possible case spread quickly around social media on Monday afternoon, with some residents erroneously reporting that a “measles outbreak” had occurred and urging people to “stay away” from the hospital.
According to Kaiser Permanente, there are steps in place for scenarios such as these and officials are following them as work through the protocol.
“Kaiser Permanente works closely with local and state public health agencies, and we have policies and practices in place to protect the health and safety of our members and employees,” the release from Kaiser read. “We apologize for any inconvenience to our patients and members today.”
At least three cases of measles were confirmed in the Bay Area earlier this month after a passenger on an international flight carried the virus into the country and infected two other people on the plane. Health officials in San Francisco that reported the outbreak noted that no other passengers on the plane had contracted the virus and found no evidence that the virus was spreading in San Francisco, Santa Clara, or Santa Cruz counties – where the three infected passengers lived.
The Bay Area report came on the heels of a troubling disclosure from Southern Washington where 62 people were diagnosed with the virus back in February.
While infection from the virus can be prevented with immunizations which are required for all students attending public school in California, some loopholes exist for parents who object to the vaccination process – even though lawmakers have tried to tighten the reins in recent years.
A 2017 state law that banned the “personal belief objection” to the immunization requirement aimed to curb the number unvaccinated children, but a number of schools around the state reported an unusually high number of “medical exemptions” that the state still allowed.
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