The Santa Clara County Public Health Department says a second case of novel coronavirus has developed within the county in the past week. County health officials made the announcement on Sunday, Feb. 2. They say this case is unrelated to the case announced on Friday, Jan. 31 but it’s not unexpected.
“I understand that people are concerned, but based on what we know today, the risk to general public remains low,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County. “A second case is not unexpected. With our large population and the amount of travel to China for both personal and business reasons, we will likely see more cases, including close contacts to our cases.”
The second case involves a woman who traveled to Santa Clara County to visit family. She arrived from Wuhan, China on Thursday, Jan. 23 and did not leave her family’s home except to seek outpatient medical care twice since arriving.
County health officials say she is being monitored and was never sick enough to be hospitalized. Her family members are also isolated, meaning they will not leave the house even to buy groceries. The Public Health Department is providing the family with food and other necessary items.
This case is similar to the one announced on Jan. 31. In that instance, a local man traveled to Wuhan, China and then flew to San Jose International Airport on Jan. 24. He went directly home and only left his home twice to seek medical care. The man was also not sick enough to be hospitalized and is isolated at home with a few household members.
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is working with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health agencies to determine who the infected parties may have come into contact with. County health officials have isolated the infected man and woman with their respective families. Health agencies are working to identify who the man and woman may have come into contact with while seeking medical care.
Meanwhile, the CDC is looking into who may have come into contact with the man and woman on their separate flights from China.
Dr. Cody says there are very simple rules people can follow to prevent the spread of an illness like the novel coronavirus.
“If you’re sick, stay home. Stay away from others. Second, if you’re sick and you’re with somebody else and you cough or sneeze, do it in your sleeve; use tissues, wash your hands carefully,” said Dr. Cody. “If you’re not sick and you don’t wish to be sick from other people, it’s also really important to wash your hands frequently and to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. And finally, it’s really important to get your flu shot, it’s still circulating.”
Dr. Cody believes at this point, the flu is much more dangerous in Santa Clara County than the novel coronavirus.
“Right now, we’re at the peak of the flu season, flu is circulating widely,” said Dr. Cody. “Hospitals are seeing a lot of influenza. It’s far more likely for people to become ill from the flu.”