UPDATE, 5:37 p.m.: DHHS spokesperson Christine Messinger tells the Outpost that the Humboldt County person who has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus had traveled to mainland China.


Press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Service:

The Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Public Health Branch has received confirmation from the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of one case of COVID-19 in a Humboldt County resident. A close contact who has symptoms is being tested as well.

This marks the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Humboldt County. Presently, the ill individuals are doing well and self-isolating at home, while being monitored for symptoms by the Public Health Communicable Disease Surveillance and Control Unit.

Close contacts of these individuals will also be quarantined at home and monitored for symptoms by Public Health staff. With the amount of foreign travel by county residents, including travel to China, it is not surprising that a case has emerged locally. Additional cases may occur either in returning travelers or their close contacts.

“It’s important to remember that the risk to the general public remains low at this time,” said Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich. “Despite the fact that Humboldt County now has a confirmed case of COVID-19, there is no evidence to suggest that novel coronavirus is circulating in the community at large.”

Frankovich added that transmission in the U.S. to date has been among close contacts and not among the general public.

Public Health suggests the following precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and all infectious diseases, including common illnesses like colds and flu:

• Stay home when you are sick.

• If you have a fever, stay home or go home if you are already at work or school, and stay home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).

• Wash your hands frequently and particularly before eating or drinking.

• Promote good hand hygiene in your home by educating household members and making sure soap, hand sanitizers, and tissues are available.

• Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Encourage proper cough etiquette. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve or arm. Do not use your hands.

• Perform routine surface cleaning, particularly for items which are frequently touched such as doorknobs, handles, remotes, keyboards and other commonly shared surfaces.

The county’s Communicable Disease Surveillance and Control Unit will continue to provide updated information about COVID-19 to health care providers, hospitals and schools, as well as the general public.

For updated information about COVID-19, please continue to check the https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/.

If you are ill and in need of medical care and have been in China within the previous two weeks or have been in contact with an individual who has COVID-19, please contact your health care provider or emergency department before presenting for care. Arrangements will be made to have you evaluated in the safest manner possible for health care staff and other patients.