Mar 2, 2020
Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins & Sonoma County Department of Health Services
This special bulletin is to help keep you updated on coronavirus in Sonoma County. The County has a new case where a patient was infected during travel. The County resident returned from a cruise ship 10 days ago that departed from San Francisco and traveled to Mexico. The patient was not infected in Sonoma County.
The County of Sonoma has declared a Local Public Health Emergency as well as a Local Emergency to respond to COVID-19. These proclamations will allow the County to prepare to respond for the possibility of community spread of COVID-19. Additional details are below.
The Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) today confirmed a presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a resident with recent international travel unrelated to the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship.A presumptive positive case is defined as likely to be positive for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will conduct another test to confirm the diagnosis.
Tests conducted by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and in close coordination with the CDC, County and hospital officials led to the presumptive positive diagnosis.DHS, CDPH, CDC and hospital officials are currently in the process of identifying individuals this patient has had contact with during the time they were in the community before being hospitalized.
The names of the hospitals providing care for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be disclosed to protect the privacy of patients and prevent disruption of hospital operations.
This is the second case of COVID-19 in the County in the last week, the first of which was announced on February 25, 2020. The first case was a patient transferred to Sonoma County on February 24 from Travis Air Force Base.That first patient was among the US evacuees from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, and is in the County receiving care to lessen the burden on the local health care system in the communities near the base.
The hospital and County health officials are working closely with the CDC and CDPH to ensure the patients receive excellent care and that all procedures are followed to protect the community from COVID-19.
To respond to this most recent development, the County of Sonoma has declared a Local Public Health Emergency as well as a Local Emergency to respond to COVID-19. These proclamations will allow the County to prepare to respond for the possibility of community spread of COVID-19. This includes a partial activation of the County Emergency Operations Center to support necessary activities.
These proclamations empower the County to more effectively respond to the outbreak, seek and utilize mutual aid, potentially obtain reimbursement, coordinate communications with stakeholders and the community. The proclamations will also ensure that the County's public health professionals have all necessary tools at their disposal to keep the community safe.
The Local Emergency and Public Health Emergency will be considered for ratification by the Board of Supervisors this week at special meeting on COVID-19 at a yet to be determined date.
DHS is working closely with CDPH and the CDC to monitor these cases of COVID-19 in our County.
The Department continues to work closely with local public health partners/healthcare providers to
take action to isolate and test any high-risk individuals in consultation with the CDC to prevent the
spread of disease and protect the public’s health.
“This recent presumptive positive case of COVID-19 is a cause for concern, and the County is
declaring these emergencies to activate and deploy its resources to adequately respond to an increase
of cases,” said Health Officer Dr. Celeste Philip. “They will allow us to work in tandem with our cities
and health care providers to ensure we are prepared to combat an outbreak of COVID-19 in our
On February 28, Dr. Philip sent out a Health Alert to local health care providers with updated guidance
on how to screen for possible cases of COVID-19.
The County is currently awaiting test kits for COVID-19 to be used at its public health lab to be more
responsive when there are suspected cases, and have a better understanding of what is happening in
County residents should contact their healthcare providers if they have symptoms such as fever and
cough and had close contact with someone with symptoms who returned in the last 14 days from
China, Italy, Iran, Japan, or South Korea.
DHS encourages everyone to practice good hygiene to reduce your risk of becoming infected with a
respiratory virus, such as influenza or COVID-19, which includes:
• washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
• avoid touching your eyes and face,
• coughing or sneezing into your sleeved elbow,
• and staying home when ill.
• If you have not received your flu shot yet, it’s not too late; annual flu shots are the best
protection from flu, which still sickens and kills thousands of people in the US every year.
For more information, go to the coronavirus website here:
Any residents who are ill and need medical attention should first call their medical provider first who can provide specific guidance.
• We have been actively monitoring the situation and preparing for several weeks to respond to keep the community safe.We are working closely with CDPH and the CDC to monitor these cases.
• In response to this presumptive positive case, we have declared a Local Emergency and a Local Public Health Emergency.
• The Board of Supervisors will consider ratifying these emergencies at a special meeting that is being scheduled for this week.
• Declaring these emergencies empower the County to:
• More effectively respond to the outbreak,
• Seek and utilize mutual aid,
• Potentially obtain reimbursement,
• Coordinate communications with stakeholders and the community, and
• Ensure that the County's public health professionals have all necessary tools at their disposal to keep the community safe.
• A website has been set up to people learn more about the Coronavirus and information about prevention measures: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Health/Information-About-Coronavirus/
• County Health Officer, Dr. Celeste Philip is providing Health Alert information to all local health care providers on guidance for how to screen and care for possible cases of COVID-19.
• To respond to potential cases of COVID-19 in in the County, DHS has activated a cross-agency team to monitor the situation and is collaborating with the Department of Emergency Management (DEM).
• DHS is working closely with other Bay Area health departments, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to closely monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
• DHS is working closely with local public health partners/healthcare providers to take action to isolate and test any high-risk individuals in consultation with the CDC to prevent the spread of disease and protect the public’s health.
• A letter was sent to parents regarding novel coronavirus and schools was sent by Dr. Philip through the Sonoma County Office of Education
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