SAN LUIS OBISPO — Late Thursday afternoon on Mar. 5, the San Luis Obispo County Public County Health Department confirmed that it is testing a patient for the first suspected local case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). According to officials, laboratory test results are expected back “this weekend” to determine if a local resident contracted the virus.

“In keeping with due diligence and our testing protocols, we have decided to proceed with testing this specimen although our suspicion of illness remains low,” SLOPHD Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said.

The Department collected a specimen from a patient for whom the SLOPHD has “a low suspicion of COVID-19 illness.” The individual presented mild symptoms and has also been in contact with travelers from an area with widespread transmission of the virus, according to reports. Officials say that the patient has fully cooperated with voluntary home quarantine and daily monitoring from Public Health Department staff and has “fully recovered and none of the patient’s contacts have symptoms.”

The specimen was sent to the California Department of Public Health Laboratory for testing, the SLOPHD affirms that future testing will have a “faster turn around time.”

“The risk to the general public at this moment remains low.  We assure the public that we will notify our residents if and when we do have a confirmed case in our county,” Borenstein said.

UPDATE: Patient test was confirmed negative.

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