March 16, 2020 – The person recently traveled outside the country, and at this time it appears the disease was acquired during international travel, but we are still in the earliest stages of investigation. The person’s close household contacts are under quarantine and have no symptoms at this time. The person was not out in the community while ill.
“Our team has been planning to see COVID-19 in Nevada County and we have been working with local partners such as local health providers, schools, and business community to prepare,” said Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler. “We have seen how the virus has been transmitted through the community in other states and in parts of California, and we recommend the public prepare for community transmission in Nevada County, unrelated to this case, as well.”
“We are working around the clock to make sure residents have the best information possible and are informed to help slow the spread of this disease. There are actions community members can take to help protect themselves, their families and coworkers. By taking simple, but effective steps together we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Cutler.
How To Protect Yourself and Others
• Self-isolate if you are 65 years of age older OR if you have a compromised immune system or a serious underlying medical condition. This effort will help protect those most vulnerable to serious illness caused by this disease.
• Wash hands with soap and water.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
• Follow guidance from public health officials. Find local coronavirus information at www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus.
In addition, Nevada County Public Health states that with increased community transmission across the state and increasing numbers of cases in nearby counties, we should assume that there are likely undetected cases and act as though there is community transmission occurring in Nevada County, so everyone should be aware and practice the recommended steps to keep themselves healthy, including social distancing. Public Health is working with partners in health care, education, business, law enforcement and others to prevent and slow the spread of this illness, and every community member will need to do their part as well if we want to preserve the public health and safety of our county’s residents.
While the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 is in the headlines and is a genuine public health threat, the community should know that there is still quite a bit of flu activity and other health emergencies continue to happen on a regular basis. People have other serious respiratory illnesses, heart attacks, broken bones, etc., and while our small, rural community has an excellent local health system, it can easily be saturated and overwhelmed if people try to access unnecessary care. Public Health is in regular contact with our hospitals and other health care partners, and we are working collectively to inform concerned community members about how to care for themselves while remaining sensitive to the capacity of our local health care systems.
One of the most common questions being asked of us all is, “Can I be tested for coronavirus?” Here is what we want everyone to know:
• The demand for COVID-19 testing continues to exceed capacity, though expanded testing remains a high priority.
• In general, testing for the COVID-19 virus is not helpful if you do not have symptoms.
• Most people will get better with rest and self-care, so there is no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms. If you have symptoms similar to a cold and you feel like you can manage them with over-the-counter medications from the comfort of your home, that is what you should do, regardless of whether or not it could be COVID-19. Also, please stay home to limit exposure to others.
• If you are sick, your health care provider may decide to do a test for coronavirus. At this time only health care providers can order tests for COVID-19. Again, since most people will get better with rest and time, there is no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms. If you are sick and think you should be tested for COVID-19, call your doctor before going in for care. If you don’t have a provider, call 2-1-1 (or 833-342-5211) for help finding a clinician near you.
• Certain patients such as the elderly, those that are immune compromised or have underlying medical conditions should contact their doctor earlier if they have symptoms. Again, they should contact their clinic or provider before going in.
• Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19 and please do not go to emergency rooms unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care.
Protecting our local health care system will require prudence and commitment from us all. Please help us ensure that care is available for those most in need of it.
Please visit Nevada County’s novel coronavirus web page for preparedness resources and updates at www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus.