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August 14, 2020

First coronavirus case in Santa Clara County confirmed

By Tarmo Hannula

The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department received confirmation Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that an adult male resident of the county tested positive for the coronavirus, which started in Wuhan, China.  

“Earlier today the CDC was informed of the first case of the coronavirus in the Bay Area and Northern California area,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. “We’re not surprised by this based on how many people from this area travel.”

Cody talked about the “core function of prevention” in a press conference Friday afternoon regarding how her department is facing the issue. “We are in full swing,” she said, referencing how the CDC is linking up with the state and local healthcare partners in dealing with the coronavirus.

Seven people in the U.S. have now contracted the coronavirus. Officials say there are now 7,700 cases in China alone and the death toll stands at 170. 

The U.S. has formed a special task force to deal with the issue. There are now 18 countries impacted. The World Health Organization is looking into possibly declaring a world health emergency. The virus is spreading more rapidly than the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003. Yesterday 195 Americans who had flown out of Wuhan are now being held for 72 hours in quarantine in Riverside, CA. Health officials say that the protective masks people are wearing don’t do much at all in the way of protecting people.  

Symptoms of the virus include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

Cody said the man with the virus had traveled to Wuhan and reported that he became ill once he was back home. She said he was self-isolating himself at his own home and that he had been seen to a local clinic and was never sick enough to be hospitalized.

Cody added that it was fortunate that the victim came into contact with “very few people” upon his return.

“What does this mean to the general public? Though this does raise concern, the public at large is at very low risk regarding this case,” Cody said.

The man returned from Wuhan after visiting Shanghai, China on Jan. 24 and had flown into San Jose Mineta International Airport.

“Since he returned he has only been at home and he has had few contacts at home,” Cody said. The only exception is travel to seek care.”

Cody said a typical isolation at home is 14 days. 

“We are conducting a full contact investigation,” Cody said. “We are lucky in this case in that the contact list is quite short.

The CDC posted on Facebook the following: When should you call your medical provider? As far as this new virus is concerned, people who become ill with fever and cough or shortness of breath within two weeks of having been in Wuhan or another area in China where the new virus is circulating should call their healthcare provider.

This story first appeared in The Pajaronian.

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