Local Health Officials Closely Monitoring Spread of Coronavirus

Local Health Officials Closely Monitoring Spread of Coronavirus


Riverside County and San Bernardino County health officials assure they are working with state and federal representatives to monitor the cases of coronavirus (also identified as novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV) from the Wuhan, China outbreak. The illness, which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to Southern California with one case each in Orange and Los Angeles counties. The California Department of Public Health was informed that one individual in Los Angeles County, one individual in Orange County and an individual in Santa Clara County have each tested positive for the coronavirus and confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  “It’s understandable Riverside County residents would be anxious with all the media reports about the growing number of cases, but I want the community to know everything is being done to prevent the illness from spreading here,” said Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser on January 27, 2020. “At this time, we have no evidence these individuals had contacts in Riverside County during the period they would be contagious.” A day later, on January 28, 2020, San Bernardino County Assistant Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson said, “There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in San Bernardino County to date.” Gustafson continued, “DPH [Department of Public Health] will keep citizens informed as more information about the coronavirus is made available. At this time, we urge the public to remain calm, as it is very unlikely to be at risk of contracting the virus.”  Gustafson affirmed there is no cure for this virus but stressed, “[O]ur hospital partners and clinical providers will be able to test and care for ill travelers effectively to minimize transmission and severe illness.” On Thursday the World Health Organization declared a global emergency defined as an extraordinary event that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated response. Also on Thursday, the CDC confirmed the person-to-person spread of the virus in the U.S.  To date China has reported more than 7800 cases including 170 deaths and 18 other countries—including the United States—have reported cases. Health officials urge everyone to take the following steps to protect your health and the health of those around you. • Wash hands with soap and water • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick will help reduce the risk of infection with a number of different viruses • If someone does become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough, they should stay away from work, school or other people to avoid spreading illness DPH has urged individuals who have recently traveled to Wuhan City, China and who develop fever or respiratory symptoms to contact their healthcare provider by phone. DPH further requested healthcare providers treating patients with respiratory symptoms ask the patients about their travel history to Wuhan, China and to report suspected coronavirus infections to DPH.  Additional information is available online via the Riverside County Public Health Department  www.rivcoph.org/ or by calling (951) 358-5000; the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health online at http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/contact/ or by calling (800) 782-4264; through the CDC at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china; and/or the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china.

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