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COVID-19 UPDATE on Tuesday, March 17: VC Public Health reports 9 presumptive positive causes, 1 confirmed

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More COVID-19 cases and increased community spread are anticipated by Ventura County Public Health, as more cases are reported in neighboring counties and throughout the state,” said Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin on Monday, March 16.
On Tuesday, March 17, Ventura County Public Health reported nine presumptive positive COVID-19 cases, one positive case, and one curious case of the child who was tested positive in a local test, then tested negative twice and who is now awaiting confirmation test results from the Centers for Disease Control. It reported March 17 that 193 people have been tested and there have been 181 negative results.
Earlier on March 17, the county reported 10 presumptive positive cases and later in the day changed the number to nine presumptive cases. Since none of the other numbers on the county chart changed, the explanation for the switch from 10 to nine was not explained. This story will be updated.
For the latest official information from the county of Ventura, visit www.vcemergency.com.

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Levin advised in a press release March 16:

“Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19 and please do not go to our emergency rooms unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care. If you have respiratory illness and want to know if you should be tested for COVID-19, it is best to call your healthcare provider or, if you don’t have a provider, call 2-1-1 for help finding a clinician near you. Our healthcare providers are prepared to see more cases, but we must all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in order to minimize strain on our healthcare system and other service providers."
The Ventura County Public Health Department is urging community members to save critical care and testing to those most in need of medical attention. Testing is not helpful if you do not have symptoms. However, most people will get better with rest so there is no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms. 
There is currently one confirmed case of COVID-19 and three presumptive positive cases in Ventura County. All patients are under home quarantine.
Levin advises: "If you develop difficulty breathing or cannot keep fluids down, see a doctor or call 911. Certain patients such as the elderly, those that are immune compromised or have underlying medical conditions should call their doctor earlier. If you have mild symptoms, there may be no need to go to a medical facility to see a doctor. If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If your primary care provider cannot provide testing when recommended they can refer you to an urgent care that will be equipped for testing. Some facilities are offering drive-by testing when it is recommended to help prevent possible exposure.
“Our public health lab is serving as a critical resource for our local hospital and emergency rooms. Our lab was one of the first of 11 county labs in the state to be certified to perform testing locally. Prior to that, testing had to be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the turnaround time was 5 to 7 days. Now, we are able to get same-day test results on hospital patients. These patients are already high risk and vulnerable.
Dr. Todd Flosi, Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital medical director, said:
"This is incredibly valuable, as these patients are within the walls of the hospital, requiring large 
amounts of resources in terms of both staff and personal protective equipment. Knowing the results of a test in rapid time provides the ability to either clear them from isolation, when negative, or double down on our efforts to protect our staff from exposure, when positive. This rapid turnaround time is helping us protect our staff from potential quarantine and preserving our ability to respond to a possible significant surge in very sick patients that will require our hospitals to be fully staffed and functional.”
This turnaround time is critical for those who are most in need. If private and public labs are inundated with processing test results in cases where it is not recommended that alone could delay results for those that are critical. It is important that our community members understand that testing capacity should be focused on those that are high risk and have symptoms. The main symptom of this disease is a fever. Community members are urged to take their temperature if they feel symptomatic and contact their healthcare provider with the information about their fever in advance of visiting a facility. 
Dr. Levin said: “The people in our lives who are most at risk, seniors and those with underlying health conditions, are depending on our community members to make the right choice to social distance and prevent the spread of disease. By working together, we can help limit the spread of this disease. Our community is urged to follow the guidelines issued by Gov. Newsom. People 65 or older are encouraged to stay home and all community members are encouraged to implement social distancing plans by limiting outings and staying home as much as possible,” he added.
Hotlines and Facebook pages in English and Spanish
The county of Ventura is opening two hotlines on March 18 — one for the public and one for doctors to be available 24/7, according to Ashley Bautista, county public information officer. Call 211 for more information.
The county has launched two Facebook pages — on in English and one in Spanish.
The English-language-version Facebook page is called “Ventura County Coronavirus News Group Official” where residents can have questions answered.

 

The Spanish-language version Facebook pages are called “Grupo Informativo de Coronavirus del Condado de Ventura – OFICIAL” and “Condado de Ventura Espanol.”

Information regarding resources, closures, preparedness and overall guidance continues to be provided on www.vcemergency.com in Spanish and English and information is being distributed to groups throughout the county including printed materials at school site meal distribution sites. Public Health has issued the following guidance during this time of increased spread throughout the Country:
• If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work.
• Avoid non-essential travel and public gatherings.
• If someone in your household is sick, keep them home. Do not send them to a friend, relatives or childcare provider. Keep the entire household home. Do not go to work.
• If you are 65 or older, stay home and away from other people.
• If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lunch or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
• Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is crucial that you do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please stay home as much as possible. Avoid social gatherings. Avoid discretionary travel and social visits. Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
• If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home and call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick.
• Exclude employees and visitors with any fever and/or respiratory infection symptoms and visitors with recent travel to any country or region with significant community transmission (including communities in the US) from all businesses and gatherings of any size.
Practice good hygiene:
• Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
• Avoid touching your face.
• Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
• Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
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