Published: March 2, 2020
Dear County Employees,
As you have very likely heard, the outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread both in the United States and globally. The CDC maintains a website with an updated list of locations of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Locally, the Department of Health Services (DHS) is working closely with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to closely monitor COVID-19.
There has been a recent local development we want to make you aware of. Today, DHS has confirmed a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a Sonoma County resident who recently traveled internationally, unrelated to the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship. This County resident returned from a cruise ship 10 days ago that departed from San Francisco and traveled to Mexico, who is showing symptoms of the virus, and is currently in stable condition in an isolated room at a local hospital.
Tests conducted by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in close coordination with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), County, and hospital officials confirmed the presumptive positive diagnosis. The CDC will test a specimen again to confirm the diagnosis before designating a positive case of COVID-19.
To protect the patient’s privacy, DHS will not release further details about the patient or facility. The patient was not infected in Sonoma County.
As an update, the patient with confirmed COVID-19 who was transferred to Sonoma County on February 24 from Travis Air Force Base is still being treated at a local hospital. This patient contracted COVID-19 while aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Support for Employees
The County is dedicated to keeping our community safe during this time, and we want to make sure our employees know we are here to support you. Any employees who are ill and need medical attention should first call their medical provider first who can provide specific guidance. Please talk to your Supervisor or Manager if you aren’t feeling well and stay home if you are sick. County staff is actively involved in monitoring and responding to this, see below for more information. We will keep you informed when new information emerges.
What is the County Doing to Prepare and Respond?
County staff have been actively monitoring the situation and preparing for several weeks to respond to keep the community safe. In response to this presumptive positive case, we have declared a Local Emergency and a Local Public Health Emergency, which the Board of Supervisors will consider ratifying these emergencies at a special meeting that is being scheduled for this week.
Information About Coronavirus to learn more about the Coronavirus and information about prevention measures.
In addition, the 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. A letter was sent to parents regarding novel coronavirus and schools was sent by Dr. Philip through the Sonoma County Office of Education on February 7, 2020.
The County is working closely with local cities, healthcare providers, and other community organizations to coordinate messaging and ensure information is released as quickly as possible.
With this declared emergency, the County is partially activating the Emergency Operations Center. As a reminder, all County employees are Disaster Services Workers and may be called upon to assist in the EOC for this emergency.
Important Information to Stay Safe
It’s important to remember that the risk for being infected with COVID-19 in the U.S., and in Sonoma County, remains low. County residents may engage in all their regular activities, using personal hygiene measures to protect themselves and others.
- Wash or sanitize your hands frequently
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Limit close contact with those who are sick
- Stay away from others if you are sick, including staying home from work and school
- Clean surfaces that are touched often
- 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 U.S. every year.
Our goal is to keep you and your family safe and informed. We’ll provide regular updates on our
Information About Coronavirus webpage.