The first case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been confirmed in San Joaquin County.
According to San Joaquin County Public Health Services, the patient was a passenger on a previous Grand Princess cruise ship – not the one currently disembarking in Oakland – and became symptomatic and was hospitalized several days ago.
“As always, the health and safety of our residents are of utmost importance to us,” said Interim Public Health Officer Maggie Park, M.D. “Public health services has been planning, preparing and has protocols in place that we follow accordingly.
“We are working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19.”
Staff at public health services are now starting the process of interviewing the individual and putting together a contact tracing investigation – which includes establishing a detailed travel history with the patient and identifying and contacting close individuals who may have experienced some level of exposure and are at risk for infection.
Health officials will monitor the contacts in the coming days, sending a health worker to contact each person daily and check for symptoms such as fever or respiratory issues including cough and shortness of breath. Should any of the contacts develop these symptoms, they are tasked with contacting a health official immediately so that a medical evaluation can be scheduled.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and can range from mild to severe. Older adults and those with underlying medical conditions are especially susceptible to the illness. Anybody that is experiencing symptoms is urged to contact their primary care physician for further assessment and guidance. To contact a nurse at public health services for additional information, call 209.468.3822.
Health officials are urging people to continue to practice good hygiene – primarily keeping contact surfaces clean and washing hands for at least 20 seconds regularly – and are also encouraging people not to touch their eyes, mouth, or face with their hands.
Officials are also encouraging people to get their flu shot if they haven’t done so already – protecting them for the last month of the flu season against a particularly aggressive strain of influenza that has proved to be deadly this year.
While the progression of COVID-19 is “still evolving” according to the release distributed on Tuesday by public health services, the CDC is now reporting that the health risk for the general public is considered low.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.