Health Officials Prepping County for Potential Coronavirus Pandemic

Already two confirmed cases of COVID-19 were treated in San Diego County last month after government-chartered planes landed at MCAS Miramar. Those patients have since been discharged

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What to Know

  • Board of Supervisors will be joined by medical, business and education leaders at the press conference.
  • Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 were successfully treated in San Diego last month.
  • Press conference will begin at noon Thursday.

San Diego health and government officials are preparing the county for a novel coronavirus pandemic as a means of precaution, they said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

“We in San Diego County have yet to have any documented community-based transition, but based on what is happening in other parts of the world and based on what is happening in other parts of the United States, we expect it is just a matter of time,” Dr. Nick Yphantides of San Diego County Health said.

To prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak, county public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten suggests the public have an emergency kit with weeks-worth of food, water, medication and materials for your pets on hand. She said a disaster preparedness kit would suffice.

"We want to use this time wisely to share what steps the general public can take," Wooten said.

As a preventative measure, authorities urge residents to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and to stay home at the first sign of illness.

"At the first signs of colds or fevers, that you stay home and take care of yourselves,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox said.

Should there be a pandemic in the county, officials say employers should consider telecommunications to continue working and educators should offer online classes if possible.

Anyone who has questions on coronavirus is encouraged to call 211 San Diego, a source that provides residents community, health, social and disaster services.

Yulin Yin is among the travelers from Wuhan, China, currently under quarantine at MCAS Miramar in San Diego. The travelers are under quarantine as a precaution against the coronavirus. NBC 7's Erika Cervantes reports.

Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 were treated in San Diego County last month after a group of American evacuees from Wuhan, China boarded government-chartered planes and landed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. The two patients who contracted the illness were isolated for 14 days while the other evacuees were placed under quarantine at the station.

Both patients have since been released after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined they had fully recovered from the virus.

As of Thursday, there were 53 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the Golden State. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency on Wednesday after the first death related to the novel coronavirus was confirmed. That patient was identified as a 71-year-old man with underlying health conditions who died in a Sacramento-area hospital.

NBC 7's Lauren Coronado has more on the blood bank concerns.

Already residents are preparing for an emergency as items in stores like hand sanitizer, toilet paper and water bottles fly off the shelves. Health officials urge everyone to thoroughly wash their hands to keep healthy and prevent any disease from spreading.

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