February 27, 2020 – Late yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed a possible first case of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 in California in the general public. The individual is a resident of Solano County and is receiving medical care in Sacramento County. The individual had no known exposure to the virus either through travel or close contact with a known infected individual.
This would be the first known instance of person-to-person transmission in the general public in the United States. Despite this new case, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) states in a press release that the health risk from novel coronavirus to the general public remains low at this time and that California is carefully assessing the situation as it evolves.
The Nevada County Public Health Department would like to remind the public that while COVID-19 is a real public health threat, there are no local cases and the immediate risk to the general population is low, so now is the ideal time to plan and prepare for the potential of a heightened public health threat. The virus may be novel, but the best way to prepare is not new and the recommended prevention strategies have proven successful in slowing the spread of disease. Here is a list of things everyone can do to protect themselves and the community against respiratory illness:
✓ Stay home when you are sick.
✓ Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
✓ Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then toss the tissue in the trash.
✓ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth especially with unwashed hands.
✓ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
✓ Get a flu vaccine to prevent influenza if you haven’t already done so this flu season.
✓ Keep your distance from people who are sick, especially if they have a respiratory virus.
For people who are well, wearing a face mask is not on the list of recommended practices to prevent infection. While they can be effective in preventing the spread of disease if worn by someone who is infected with a virus, they are not currently recommended to protect oneself from becoming sick.
Although there are no local cases and the immediate risk is low, planning now will lead to better preparedness during an actual event. Now is a good time to consider how you might adjust if your daily routine is disrupted by an outbreak.
• Can your work from home?
• What are your transportation plans if public transportation is disrupted?
• If schools are closed, do you have an alternate plan for childcare?
We encourage you to consider these and other similar questions in order to enhance your readiness, as well as our community’s readiness.
In addition to sharing information with our community, Nevada County Public Health is planning with County departments and community partners. As COVID-19 has spread, Public Health is preparing for the possibility of local, sustained community transmission. Local health care providers have received alerts so that community providers know what to look for and how to handle a suspect case. Public Health has reached out to health care facilities, schools, and others to discuss what their planning efforts may include and share recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, which are actions that individuals and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses.
Accurate information can help reduce fears. This situation remains an emerging and rapidly evolving one, so with this in mind, it is important to check reliable sources for the latest accurate information on COVD-19 as. For regular and reliable updates in English and Spanish visit CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
Our combined efforts across our community will help to slow the spread of fear and illness.