Letter from the Health Officer

February 3, 2020

The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department has now received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of two cases of novel coronavirus, one on Friday, January 31, and the second on Sunday, February 2. Both cases had traveled to Wuhan, China in the 14 days before they became ill and have been self-isolating at home ever since. The cases are not related to each other.     

The Public Health Department is reaching out to anyone who may have been in close contact with either case to determine whether they were exposed to the novel coronavirus. All exposed close contacts are being quarantined at home and monitored for symptoms.    

With the amount of foreign travel from our county, including travel to China, we can anticipate that more cases are likely. These cases could include close contacts of confirmed cases.  But even spread between close contacts does not increase the risk to the general public, which remains low.    

What does this mean? Although we now have two confirmed cases in Santa Clara County, please know there is no evidence to suggest that novel coronavirus is circulating in our community. So even though a second confirmed case may raise concerns, our assessment is that the public is still at low risk.     We encourage everyone to take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including common illnesses like colds and flu: 

  • Stay home when you are sick.   
  • If you have a fever at work, go home immediately and stay there for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine. 
  • Promote hand hygiene through education and availability of soap, hand sanitizers, and tissues.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.  
  • Encourage proper cough etiquette—cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or arm. Do not use your hands. 
  • Perform routine surface cleaning, particularly for high-touch surfaces.  
  • Consider not attending or hosting large gatherings. This is where cold, flu, and other respiratory viruses are often spread.  

The Public Health Department will continue to provide updated information about the diagnosis and management of cases of novel coronavirus to healthcare providers and hospitals in the county, to both identify and prevent any future cases.   This situation is rapidly changing, please continue to check this webpage.  

Thank you,  
Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director
County of Santa Clara Public Health Department​

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