The San Diego County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting Wednesday to officially ratify two emergency declarations due to an international outbreak of coronavirus, or COVID-19, that has affected county resources.
By signing the two declarations -- a local health emergency issued by the county Public Health Officer and a local emergency proclamation issued by the county's Director of Emergency Services -- officials will be better able to coordinate local efforts and identify resources in dealing with coronavirus, according to the board.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the emergency declarations Wednesday afternoon.
The declarations are "an act of proactive protection for our community to prevent the preventable," said Dr. Nick Yphantides, county chief medical officer for San Diego County.
The county noted that the health risk from the coronavirus to the general American public is low. In comparison, the risk of getting influenza is greater.
There is currently no vaccine available to protect against the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, and one may not be available for at least another year, the county said.
The declarations come after hundreds of evacuees from the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, were held at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and treated by San Diego County health officials and resources.
At one point, the intermingling of agencies led to a miscommunication that allowed a patient who later tested positive for coronavirus to be released from isolation at UC San Diego Medical Center.
It was one of the reasons the declarations were made, according to Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, though he reiterated Friday the action does not mean there was a risk of coronavirus spread to San Diego County residents.
“By declaring these emergencies, we are better able to provide direction and ensure resources to first responders, hospitals, and members of the local medical community,” Fletcher said at a press conference.