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UPDATE March 2: VC Public Health Department releases coronavirus update

2 28 coronavirus

Six U.S. residents, four of whom lived in a nursing home in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, Washington, have died of Covid-19  as of Monday, March 2. On Tuesday, March 3, the Ventura County Public Health Department reported that the number of people in Ventura County now who have been tested for Covid-19 is five, with test results pending for two.

There are no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ventura County as of Tuesday, March 3. Three people in Ventura County were previously tested and found not to have the virus. Results from two more cases are pending, according to the VCemergency.com, which is the site where local updates about Covid-19 are provided by Ventura County Public Health Officer, Dr. Robert Levin.

One person without any signs of sickness was — as of Feb. 29 — under federal quarantine order at Naval Base Ventura County-Point Mugu, according to the Ventura County Public Health Department. He arrrived at the base on Feb. 23. A second person was quarantined at the base later in the week for fewer than two days before being moved to another Southern California location the evening of Friday, Feb. 28, according to Ashley Bautista, county of Ventura public information officer. She said that person showed no sign of illness.

The first person taken to the Ventura County naval base arrived there Sunday, Feb. 23, after traveling from the Hubei province in China. He had taken a bus to the airport in China and then traveled on a commercial airliner that landed in LAX before being quarantined.
The man did not have any symptoms, according to government officials who held a press conference to discuss the Pt. Mugu quarantine center on Wednesday, Feb. 26. (View press conference at: https://www.facebook.com/ojaivalleynews/videos/227107418447087/) The officials said at the press conference that anyone who became ill at the quarantine center would be taken to a hospital.
Ventura County Public Health Officer Robert Levin said that all hospitals in Ventura County “are very capable of handling such patients.”
(The single COVID-19 patient admitted to the UC Davis Medical Center on Feb. 19 has now led to the self-quarantine at home of at least 36 registered nurses and 88 other healthcare workers, according to the National Nurses United union, based in Oakland.)
Earlier in the month, the county Public Health Department reported two people who had traveled to China and had been ill were tested. They also reported that Ventura County was one of a handful of California counties to receive its own coronavirus testing apparatus. Prior to that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been doing all of the testing.
The press release also referred people to stay up to date on Covid-19 information at vcemergency.com
In addition, 19 “travelers” with no symptoms are currently 
“self-isolated at their homes in Ventura County,” as a precaution. “Risk assessments are performed on reported travelers via phone interview after receiving notification form the California Department of Public Health,” according to the department. “After the interview is completed, the risk assessment is detrained, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance with regards to their travel history.
“Travers determined be at medium risk are directed to stay home for the 14-day quarantine period in self-isolation. Travelers are educated on symptoms to report: cough, fever, temperature check twice a day and shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, with instructions to report any symptoms to Public Health before seeking medical care.”
The county Department of Public health stated that “Covid-19 is not currently spreading” in Ventura County, “and immediate risk to the general public in Ventura County is low. 
“At this time, because of the relatively low risk of novel coronavirus infection in Ventura County, we advise you to practice the same hygienic precautions as you would for the influenza virus,” stated Levin. “It will protect you from the flu, support the formation of good habits and be in place to protect you if the novel coronavirus does make its way into our county.”
The Public Health Department continues to recommend that the public do the following to protect themselves from all respiratory illnesses:
— Stay home when you are sick.
— Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
— Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
— Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
— Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
— Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are sick.
— Get a flu immunization to prevent influenza if you have not done so this season. 
— If you have recently traveled to China and are experiencing flu like symptoms, call Ventura County Public Health Communicable Diseases at 805-981-5101. 
For the most up-to-date information regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
The press release continued: “The county of Ventura is working closely with the California Department of Public Health, the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and our local cities to help keep the community safe. The county of Ventura is committed to providing our community timely and accurate updates regarding the current situation in Ventura County.”
While the immediate risk of contracting novel coronavirus in the United States is low at this time, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director for the CDC, said in a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 25: “Current global circumstances suggest it’s likely this virus will cause a pandemic. Now it’s not so much a question of if this will happen any more, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will become infected and how many of these will develop severe or more complicated disease.”
Her comments were delivered at a Department of Health and Human Services press briefing on the administration’s response to Covid-19. The press conference may be viewed at: 
Dr. Schuchat’s comments start at the 5:35 time stamp of the press briefing recording.
At the 17:45 time stamp, Dr. Robert Kadlec, HHS's assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response, spoke about the quarantine center at Naval Base Ventura County-Point Mugu
On Feb. 25, the White House sent a request to Congress to make at least $2.5 billion in funding available for preparedness and response.
The CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html) has daily updates on Covid-19. On Feb. 28, it said the risk of contracting Covid-19 is still low in the United States. However, under a category titled, "What May Happen," the CDC wrote:

"More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and transportation industry may also be affected. Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. Nonpharmaceutical interventions would be the most important response strategy."

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