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Virus patient may be from Escalon area; 2 deaths so far in county
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Two deaths from coronavirus-related complications were confirmed Wednesday by San Joaquin County Public Health officials.

Additionally, health department officials confirmed that, to date, the county's cases total 14.

After the 6:30 a.m. Latin Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church located on East Highway 120 in rural Ripon announced that 14 days prior, a parishioner was diagnosed as having contracted the coronavirus and has undergone treatment. Church pastor, Father Raju told the congregation that the church has been completely sanitized after the announcement was made.

It's not known if the church member who was diagnosed with the coronavirus is the same person who is known by a Manteca resident whose good friend is a cousin of the victim. The Mantecan, who asked not to use his name, said the victim was from Escalon and just returned home about two weeks ago from a cruise, and subsequently infected his daughter. He also declined to mention the victims' names. This information has not been confirmed by the San Joaquin County Public Health Services. Phone calls seeking confirmation were not immediately returned on Wednesday.

In another development, Manteca Unified has delivered 3,095 face masks to help protect City of Manteca first responders — firefighters and police officers — from contacting the virus when dealing with individuals with respiratory issues.

Lentz Rey, a fire marshal who is serving as the city’s public information officer for the pandemic crisis, noted the city is extremely appreciative of their partnership with Manteca Unified and for that agency making the masks available.

The city has been trying to secure additional masks and has yet to take delivery from commercial sources. They had a two or three day supply left before the MUSD masks were made available.

Rey noted best practice guidelines suggest tossing the masks after 8 hours of use when there isn’t a known exposure. If there is a known exposure they need to dispose of the masks immediately after dealing with someone who had been exposed.

Manteca officials are continuing to recommend that residents shelter in place and avoid gatherings of 10 people or more.

The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is from the coronavirus family, which includes the common cold, but also includes more serious illnesses like SARS and MERS, according to the county Public Health Services. The message added that while COVID-19 has a high transmission rate, mortality rate is low.

Additionally, the health department stated that COVID-19 symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure to the virus and consist of fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing.

Officials are urging county residents to practice good health hygiene as cases continue to increase. Some of these tips:

* Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

* Cover your cough or sneeze

* Stay home if you are sick.

* Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to COVID-19.

Officials also advise to try alternatives to shaking hands, such as elbow bump or wave. To date, there are 598 cases of coronavirus in California.