SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Public Health Director Penny Borenstein provided the San Luis Obispo County Health Commission with an update on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 during a meeting Monday evening

Borenstein said that the County Health Department is getting ready to ramp up testing efforts for the virus but based on the rate of transmission, the mortality rate and the level of severity of the disease, she doesn’t believe that it will be disruptive to the daily lives of people in SLO County. 

“Thus far, as of today, we are not looking to implement anything very prescriptive like closing every school at the very first case or canceling every event in the county when we get a second case,” Borenstein said. “My take home message is that I don’t think you need to go home and have two to three weeks of supplies.” 

Borenstein said that she is concerned about the threat to the county’s vulnerable population but called for a “structured and layered respond based on individual risk.” 


Borenstein said that there still haven’t been any confirmed cases of the virus in the county or in any of the adjacent counties. 

“But that may have changed today,” she said. 

Borenstein said that the county has received one testing kit from the Center For Disease Control and that each test kit can test about 300 specimens. With two to three specimen samples being needed to confirm the disease in each patient, the testing kit can test around 100 to 150 people. 

“I have every confidence that once we run through those we’ll be able to get more test kits when we need them,” she said. 

Borenstein said that she believes the impact from COVID-19 will be something that the county’s health care system can manage, comparing it to a bad flu year. 

“I’m not being cavalier that people will undoubetly succumb to this illness,” she said. “I take it very seriously, I am really concerned about our vulnerable populations. I just think it’s important for people to know the level of emergency that we might be dealing with.”