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Two cases of coronavirus confirmed in Santa Clara County

County public health leaders: Both people traveled from Wuhan, China, but they are not connected

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The widespread coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands of people around the world and killed 361 has reached Santa Clara County, where two people have tested positive for the disease, according to the county's Public Health Department.

Coronavirus, better known as "novel coronavirus," is a respiratory illness that has been reportedly linked to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan City, China, but has since been passed between people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath that appear two to 14 days after exposure. It can lead to pneumonia and, in some infections, death.

County public health leaders alerted the public to the first case on Friday and the second on Sunday; the cases don't appear to be related.

County Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody said during a press conference on Friday afternoon that in the first case, a man arrived from China on Jan. 24 at the Mineta San Jose International Airport and immediately isolated himself at home. He became ill after his return. He had been traveling in China and had been to Wuhan and Shanghai, Cody said.

The man only left his home twice to seek medical attention at a local medical clinic and a hospital, where he received outpatient care. Cody declined to identify the medical facilities or what city he lives in. He was never sick enough to require hospitalization, she added.

The man had little contact with others during his trip back to the U.S., potentially airline employees, medical center staff and household members, Cody said.County health officials are working to identify who he came into contact with and to monitor them while they remain in self-isolation for 14 days.

"We're quite lucky in this case that the list of contacts is very short," she said.

The second case was reported on Sunday. A woman came to the county from Wuhan on Jan. 23 to visit family and has stayed at the home since her arrival, with the exception of two occasions when she sought outpatient medical care, public health staff said. Her family members have also been isolated and have received food and other necessities through the Public Health Department.

"She has been regularly monitored and was never sick enough to be hospitalized," the department stated in a press release.

There have been two cases of human-to-human transmission of the disease in the U.S., according to multiple media outlets, which report a total of 11 cases in the country. One case was recently found to have been transmitted in Illinois between spouses and another also between spouses in San Benito County, which is south of Gilroy.

"Based on what we know today, the risk to (the) general public remains low," Cody said in a press release on Sunday. "A second case is not unexpected. With our large population and the amount of travel to China for both personal and business reasons, we will likely see more cases, including close contacts to our cases."

When people are required to be in isolation, they can be watched in one of two ways: by a family member or, if there isn't one, through public resources, she said.

Cody stressed that there is much still unknown about this strain of coronavirus, hence it is called "novel." She warned the public to take precautions to stay at home if they are ill and to seek medical care. Everyone should be vaccinated for the flu, which is still circulating and has similar symptoms to the novel coronavirus.

"We know we have 36,000 deaths from influenza in the United States every year," she said. It's far more likely for people to become sickened by the flu, she added.

In January, the Public Health Department activated its Emergency Operations Center to provide regular communications to the public and health care providers and to handle reports of potential novel coronavirus infection.

On Tuesday, the county Public Health Department announced five workers from Good Samaritan

Hospital in San Jose were sent home after it determined they were exposed to coronavirus and were instructed to stay home until Feb. 11.

Department leaders said the workers were sent home to protect the public and reduce the chance the virus spreads.

The situation is rapidly changing, so the public is encouraged to visit the Public Health Department's website for updated local information at sccphd.org/coronavirus. The CDC has more information about novel coronavirus that can be found here.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by the Almanac, Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Online here.

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Comments

14 people like this
Posted by Relative Risk vs. Outcome
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2020 at 6:38 pm

""We know we have 36,000 deaths from influenza in the United States every year," she said. It's far more likely for people to become sickened by the flu, she added. "

This is true, but the rate of death is higher for the coronavirus, and we don't assess risks well as humans, do we? Kids are far more likely to be hospitalized or die from asthma in school than gun violence -- though don't get me wrong, we need to do something about gun violence -- but the latter gets headlines, and the former very little attention or money even when districts (including ours) can make dramatic changes in staff and student health, absenteeism, and performance.


13 people like this
Posted by Old Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 4, 2020 at 3:34 pm


The so-called R naught of the disease, a mathematical equation that shows how many people will get sick from each infected person, is around 2.2, according to a report last week from the New England Journal of Medicine. That means two or more people will catch the virus from a person who already has it, making it more infectious than the seasonal flu and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which had an R naught of about 1.8 and killed at least 50 million people across the world. The current R naught of the new virus is lower than the 2003 SARS outbreak, which had an R naught of between 2 and 5.




The disease is spreading quickly. China’s health minister, Ma Xiaowei, told reporters last month that there is evidence it’s already mutated into a stronger variation that is able to spread more easily among humans. World health officials know the respiratory disease is capable of spreading through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing, and germs left on inanimate objects. The illness is cable of spreading before symptoms show,


Web Link




12 people like this
Posted by My Corona
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 4, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Why is it that the majority of these exotic & mutating diseases seem to come from areas that either have lower health or sanitation standards (i.e. China, Africa, SE Asia etc.) than say, places like the U.S. or Western Europe?

We've never heard of the Zurich flu.

The United Nations & World Health Organizations need to zero-in further on their preventative priorities & initiatives


5 people like this
Posted by 6 Pack of Corona
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 4, 2020 at 5:43 pm

I've read that it was first spread to patient zero in Wuhan via unregulated bush meat. If my memory serves correct, some type of bat soup. Supposedly they received the bat from a poacher (aka, street). There needs to be a higher regulation and stricter health inspections in areas with lower health and sanitation. (i.e. China, Africa, SE Asia etc.)


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Posted by Old Joe, a resident of Barron Park

>> The so-called R naught of the disease, a mathematical equation that shows how many people will get sick from each infected person, is around 2.2, [...] the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which had an R naught of about 1.8 and killed at least 50 million people across the world.

>> The current R naught of the new virus is lower than the 2003 SARS outbreak, which had an R naught of between 2 and 5.

Coronavirus appears at this time to be extremely dangerous, as outlined above. If people and authorities don't react appropriately, we could be looking at a Spanish Flu situation. OTOH, if people and authorities do react appropriately, and are able to contain it, then, the death toll will be low, and we will hear plenty of, "See, I told you there was nothing to worry about!"

Is there an official name for this paradox?


8 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 4, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Yup, a lot of these diseases are both caused and spread by overpopulation. Humans invade nature, proliferate, and start slaughtering and eating every species around, and then novel viruses jump between species. AIDS is speculated to have originated from Congolese killing and eating (without properly sterilizing or cooking) chimps and gorillas.


4 people like this
Posted by Old Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 5, 2020 at 8:03 am

@ 6 Pack of Corona “I've read that it was first spread to patient zero in Wuhan via unregulated bush meat. If my memory serves correct, some type of ...”

This is NOT true.
Please cite a reference so that we can confirm your source.

Do not post or spread things you think you heard or might remember. It only causes confusion when are wrong. Readers need to be able to verify your sources.

I’ve read that no one ever went to the moon.


5 people like this
Posted by Relative Risk vs Outcome
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2020 at 8:26 am

@Anon
“ Is there an official name for this paradox”

In engineering, I’ve heard a colleague say something like : always enough money to fix it when it goes wrong, never enough money to get it right in the first place.

But you’re getting to a deeper issue, that safety has no constituency and there is no way to know for sure what would have happened. There’s a great book by Michael Lewis that looks at people involved in risk reduction in various capacities as civil servants, like NOAH. The Fifth Risk. It gets at what you describe but doesn’t give it a name.

Safety First encapsulates the ethos, though. Because a risk is just that, and if the outcome is unacceptable, you do what is in your power to eliminate it rather than playing the odds. This assumes you will necessarily take preventative steps when the outcome wouldn’t have been bad, too, because that’s baked into the uncertainty.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:30 am

Posted by Relative Risk vs Outcome, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> This assumes you will necessarily take preventative steps when the outcome wouldn’t have been bad, too, because that’s baked into the uncertainty.

That is the problem. If 100 Million people die and the economic loss is a quadrillion dollars, the survivors will wonder why we didn't do what was necessary to try to stop this right now. If rapid action shuts this down, critics will decry the "over-reaction". SARS in 2002-2003, H5N1 in 2004-2005 "could kill 150M", etc. There is no way to know what the loss would have been in the case where action does shut it down. Coronavirus looks like the most dangerous of these at least since 1968-1969 (1M worldwide, 33,000(!)+ people in the US died of the "Hong Kong flu 1968-1969). Rapid action is fully justified.


Like this comment
Posted by 6 Pack of Corona
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:24 pm

@Old Joe
Web Link

I mean, China placed a ban on all wild animal trade (bush meat)...They did something similar 17 years ago with the SERS epidemic. Coincidence?


Like this comment
Posted by geo-wizards!!
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 28, 2020 at 6:02 pm

"... places like the U.S. or Western Europe? We've never heard of the Zurich flu."

Love it. The next post references the Spanish Flu (centered in France.) Some racists don't even think before they post. Or have an inkling of history.

Or maybe your knowledge of geography and what continent contains France and the Iberian Peninsula.


Like this comment
Posted by 6 Pack of Corona
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 2, 2020 at 10:42 am

Also @Old Joe

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 2, 2020 at 12:41 pm

> We've never heard of the Zurich flu.

Ever heard of the Spanish Flu? Look it up.

Let's also be clear ... this is not a "flu"

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2,[8] a virus closely related to the SARS virus.[9][10][11] The disease is the cause of the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak.[12][13] It passes from one person to others via respiratory droplets produced from the airways, often during coughing or sneezing.[14][15] Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between 2 and 14 days, with an average of 5 days.[16][17][18] Hand washing, maintaining distance from people who are coughing, and not touching one's face with unwashed hands are measures recommended to prevent the disease.[19] It is recommended to cover one's nose and mouth with a tissue or a bent elbow when coughing.[19]

People may have few symptoms or develop fever, cough, and shortness of breath.[7][20][21] Cases can progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure.[12][13] There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment, with management involving treatment of symptoms, supportive care, and experimental measures.[22] The case fatality rate is estimated at between 1% and 3%.[23][24]


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