2019 Novel Coronavirus Case is Confirmed in Tulare County

Porterville, CA March 11, 2020:

Tulare County Health and Human Services Public Health Department (TCHHSA), Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Tulare County.

The individual is isolated at home, and is doing well. Out of respect for the privacy of the patient and their household, this is the only information that is available.

While the risk to the general public remains low, SVMC, CDPH, the local health department, and the CDC are working together to prevent disease transmission by evaluating close contacts of the patient and health care personnel who cared for the patient.

SVMC is operating with an abundance of caution and is working very closely with the local health department to ensure that this patient and any close contacts are closely monitored,” said CEO, Donna Hefner.

“SVMC has taken precautions, including staff training, screening for entry to the hospital, as well as employee screening for those that call in sick to work. In addition, the hospital has modified their visitor policy to only one visitor per patient in the Emergency Department and Urgent Care and only two visitors per patient for all other areas of the hospital (excluding Maternal Child Health which allows 3 visitors per patient). “Since initial treatment at SVMC, the patient has been self-quarantined at home. We are coordinating with the CDC, CDPH, and local health authorities.” Stated Hefner.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, which may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after someone is exposed to the virus. Symptoms have ranged from a mild illness (like a common cold) to severe pneumonia requiring hospitalization. SVMC encourages travelers returning from China, Iran, South Korea, Italy or contacts of patients with a confirmed case who become ill to let their health care providers know of their possible exposure before arriving at the health care facility.

The steps that all Tulare County residents can take to help prevent the spread of this virus are the same as those used to protect against colds and flu: cover your coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently, and stay home when you are sick.

For more information on COVID-19 please visit cdc.gov. For local updates, please visit tchhsa.org or call 2-1-1 which will place you in contact with someone from Public Health.