Central Valley health officials stress proactive approach is helping mitigate COVID-19 exposure so far


Several public health departments convened in Fresno County to brief media on the status of novel coronavirus in the region

FRESNO, California (KGPE) — While there still are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the Central Valley, local health leaders Wednesday assured the public they are being proactive with potential cases to mitigate exposure.

As of 11:30 a.m., Fresno County is monitoring more than 30 possible cases of the virus, also called COVID-19, according to community health division manager Joe Prado.

While the virus is fairly new, the monitoring protocol is not. Prado recalled for one measles case, the public health department interviewed more than 500 people because the patient was in contact with hundreds at a number of places — including Fashion Fair Mall.

Prado said if a confirmed COVID-19 case pops up, it’ll be a similar response.

“Our local protocols are so broad and we just tailor the fit to the type of disease. So, whether it’s an airborne disease or blood-borne-type disease — we’ll tailor our response,” he said.

The number of monitored cases has gone down in the region. Last week, both Merced and Tulare counties reported a total of 18 people were being monitored. By Wednesday, there are only three people being monitored in Tulare County, and they’re likely to be cleared soon, according to a spokeswoman with the Tulare County Health & Human Services agency.

However, with the number of cases in the state continuing to rise — and with one case turning deadly in Placer County — several Central Valley public health leaders convened in Fresno County Wednesday to stress all public health departments are in constant communication.

“We know everyone is really concerned. We want to make sure people understand we’re working together … and we’re being as proactive as possible,” Madera County Public Health Director Sara Bosse said.

Of course, that communication includes keeping all health care providers, in all facets, up-to-date as well.

“We’re really staying connected with our partners in our community,” said David Pomaville, director of Fresno County Department of Public Health. “Mainly the medical providers, our schools, our first responders and our local governments.”

A refresher on common symptoms for the virus: fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control said they typically appear two-to-14 days after exposure.

If you’re worried, your first calls should be to your doctor and your county health department.

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