Coronavirus patient is a South SLO County resident under the age of 60

The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department reports today that another individual in San Luis Obispo County tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This is the second confirmed case in San Luis Obispo County.

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Health officials urge those who exhibit these symptoms to stay home, avoid contact with others, and call their health care provider or urgent care clinic before seeking medical care to receive safe arrival instructions, if directed to do so. Only go to the emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

The first confirmed case was reported yesterday, after the County Public Health Laboratory conducted over 100 tests for COVID-19 last week. This second positive test result was reported to County Public Health by a private-sector laboratory that conducted the test for COVID-19.

“Because local testing capacity increased both at our public lab and at private-sector labs last week, we will likely see more confirmed cases in the coming days,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein. “We are looking at all of our options to limit the spread of illness to keep our community healthy and safe. It’s now vital for everyone to do their part to limit social gatherings, practice social distancing and practice good hygiene.”

The second individual with COVID-19 is an adult under the age of 60 with significant underlying health conditions and is a South County resident. The individual contacted their health care provider when they developed a fever and cough. A private-sector laboratory performed laboratory testing and notified the County Public Health Department. The individual is recovering in isolation at home until cleared by County Public Health. To protect the person’s privacy, County Public Health will not share additional information about this individual.

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County Public Health is currently investigating, but Dr. Penny Borenstein believes this is likely another case of community transmission in the State of California. The individual is assisting the Public Health Department in the investigation. Public Health is contacting those who had been in close contact with the individual in recent days to evaluate if testing and quarantine management is needed. Public Health will notify the public immediately should the investigation indicate further action and precautions are necessary.

“We are all in this together and we need to each do our part to slow down the speed at which people get exposed to COVID-19, so that we don‘t overwhelm our health care system,” said Dr. Borenstein.

On Friday, the Health Officer declared a public health emergency and the County Emergency Services Director also proclaimed a local emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local school districts announced school closures and local event organizers began cancelling or postponing events throughout San Luis Obispo Count last week, in an effort to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Wade Horton, County Administrative Officer and Emergency Services Director said “Prompt protective actions may be necessary to limit the spread of illness and to avoid overwhelming our health care system. This could include shutting down popular activities for a period of time. Please heed our instructions to protect our most vulnerable loved ones.”

Everyone should take simple steps to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19:

  • Remain calm;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Regularly clean surfaces touched by many people;
  • Stay home if you are sick;
  • Avoid others who are sick; and
  • Avoid large gatherings of people, especially if you are over the age of 60 and have health conditions such as lung or heart disease, diabetes, and a compromised immune system.

Public Health is working with partners in health care, education, business, law enforcement and others to prepare our community and to limit further spread.

Please visit ReadySLO.org for the latest public health updates and recommendations or call the Public Health information line at (805) 788-2903.

Keep informed with North County’s up-to-date COVID-19 page.