Travel-Related COVID-19 Case Confirmed in San Diego County

The county's test results have been sent to the CDC for final confirmation

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A San Diego County resident who recently traveled overseas is the region's first presumptive positive COVID-19 patient, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced Monday.

The patient, a woman in her 50s, developed symptoms while traveling overseas and was sick enough to be admitted at a local hospital. There she was tested for the virus by the HHSA which determined her "presumptive positive", according to Eric McDonald, Medical Director with the County Epidemiology Immunization Branch.

The HHSA's test results have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for final confirmation.

"It is not unexpected that we will have more cases of COVID-19 in San Diego, and we will report those to the public as they are determined," HHSA Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said.

The patient had contact with one person in her home and that person is under self-quarantine, but there was no suspected contact with the general public, McDonald said.

The county did not reveal which hospital the woman was being treated at but Scripps Health said a patient being treated at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

A county health spokesperson said officials believe there is only one case in San Diego County.

Investigators are still looking into the patient's contact history as it relates to healthcare workers. The patient is "doing well," according to Dr. Wooten.

Scripps Health said in a statement Tuesday:

"As a cautionary measure, we have taken immediate steps to identify staff who may have been exposed and place them on home quarantine as appropriate with our full support, and we will provide additional staffing as needed. We are also assisting the county in identifying anyone not on Scripps’ staff who may have been exposed. If identified, the county will provide notification and manage those cases."

Scripps said their hospitals and clinics were safe for patient care and all appointments and procedures would continue as usual.

County health officials did not provide further details about San Diego County's first positive COVID-19 case, including where the patient traveled or where in the county the woman resided.

"I think there is a balance to be struck and a needle to be thread between our community being prepared, being informed, being judicious and being educated versus reacting inappropriately or having a sense of panic or disproportionate concern," San Diego County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nick Yphantides.

Hundreds of passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship are en route to San Diego to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The base also served as a quarantine zone for more than 200 American citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China in early February.

Two people among the 232 evacuees tested positive for the virus and were treated at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest. They were both released after the CDC said they were fully recovered and were no longer infectious.

Hundreds of people who were aboard the Grand Princess Cruise Ship could be quarantined at MCAS Miramar.

Several others among the evacuee group showed symptoms that warranted further testing in isolation environments at area hospitals.

A Chula Vista parent who may have been exposed to an AT&T worker that “presumptively” tested positive for coronavirus has quarantined herself and her child as a precaution, according to a Chula Vista Elementary School District official.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors ratified two emergency declarations due the coronavirus outbreak on Feb. 19.

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