St. Joseph Hospital treated the two individuals who were showing symptoms of a viral illness after traveling to mainland China — one of whom is Humboldt County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, otherwise known as novel coronavirus.
According to the hospital, the patients were evaluated at St. Joseph’s emergency room on Feb. 16. Read the full press release below.
“After a thorough investigation, at this time, we have no evidence that any patients were exposed during the visit,” the release states. “There was no close or prolonged contact with anyone in the Emergency Department. We followed established protocols from the moment the patients arrived.”
That included being directed immediately to an isolation room that has negative pressure, controlling airflow to prevent the virus from spreading, according to the release. Both were treated and released the same day.
The county’s Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the region’s first coronavirus case yesterday
. A second person has been tested after showing symptoms but the results are pending.
In the meantime, both individuals are under home quarantine, according to Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich, who says the risk to the general public is low.
She says the second test results are expected sometime next week.
County health officials are in daily contact with the patients and monitoring their condition, Frankovich says. In the U.S., which has now seen at least 34 cases, including Humboldt’s, the transmission has primarily been from close contact — such living together — rather than a casual setting.
Due to privacy concerns, the county is not releasing much specific information, such as where in Humboldt County the individuals reside or which airport the person confirmed to have coronavirus went through, according to Frankovich.
“I think, in rural area like this, it doesn’t take too many things to make someone identifiable. … So, obviously, we’re very careful about other identifiers because privacy should be protected unless it endangers public health and that is not the case in this instance,” she says.
Frankovich notes that this is not the first virus to make the global rounds and won’t be the last, “so we have the infrastructure in place to respond.”
“Coronavirus is evolving and the information is changing all the time,” she says. “Our job is to keep abreast of that and to keep the community informed.”
The release from St. Joseph Health states that “St. Joseph Hospital and Redwood Memorial Hospital are equipped to handle this virus.”
“Our caregivers have received training, have practiced for these scenarios and are well-prepared,” the release states. “The Caregiver Health department has contacted the small number of staff who may have come in contact with the patient.”
Release from St. Joseph Hospital:
On February 16, two patients were evaluated at St. Joseph Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) for symptoms of a viral illness following travel which put them at risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As referenced in the Humboldt County Department of Health (DHHS) press release released yesterday, DHHS has received confirmation from the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of one case of COVID-19.
After a thorough investigation, at this time, we have no evidence that any patients were exposed during the visit. There was no close or prolonged contact with anyone in the Emergency Department. We followed established protocols from the moment the patients arrived. They were brought straight to a special isolation room that has negative pressure to prevent spread of the virus. Both patients were treated and released the same day, then immediately placed in home quarantine by the Humboldt County Department of Public Health. Per the press release issued by the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Public Health (DHHS) they continue to be under home quarantine.
We worked closely with the CDC and Humboldt County Public Health. The caregivers wore personal protective equipment and followed precautions standard to contact and airborne illness that they have been trained on. Our employees’ exemplary compliance with our infection prevention protocols ensured the safety and well-being of their colleagues, patients and visitors.
St. Joseph Hospital and Redwood Memorial Hospital are equipped to handle this virus. Our caregivers have received training, have practiced for these scenarios and are well-prepared. The Caregiver Health department has contacted the small number of staff who may have come in contact with the patient.
The risk is very low for exposure to Covid-19 in the US at this time. More information on prevention and treatment of the coronavirus can be obtained on the CDC website or by contacting Humboldt County Public Health. For details, visit the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services website.