Public health reports confirmed case of COVID-19

On March 19, Madera County Department of Public Health received testing results confirming two cases of COVID-19 in two individuals within the same family in Madera County. These individuals did not travel outside of the state or country, and are the first known cases of community transmission in Madera County.

The patients are currently in stable condition. Due to protected health information requirements, and to protect the patients’ identities, the health department is unable to further disclose information about these COVID-19 cases. These cases are being investigated by communicable disease staff. Contact tracing and active monitoring are ongoing.

In response to these cases, and to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Madera County, interim Public Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko has issued two health orders effectively immediately.

The first order limits large and small-scale events and gatherings, and closes bars, nightclubs, gyms and theaters. The second order outlines requirements for health care providers, employers and residents in regards to monitoring, testing and treating febrile respiratory illness. Both orders are in effect until April 30.

“We encourage businesses, agencies, healthcare professionals, employers, and residents to implement these health orders as soon as possible — working together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in Madera County and the Central Valley,” said Sergienko.

Madera County Department of Public Health urges residents to continue to take the necessary precautionary measures to protect against COVID-19. Utilize flu prevention techniques, including remembering to wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and sanitizing surfaces. If you are sick or within a high-risk group, stay home.

Currently, Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As of today (March 19), there are more than 231,000 cases in the world and more than 9,300 deaths. In California, there are 917 confirmed cases and 17 deaths. We can expect that number to increase significantly, should action not be taken to decrease the spread of the disease.

As of March 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the following for the next eight weeks:

• Large events and mass gatherings that include 50 people or more should be postponed or canceled.

• Events that include fewer than 50 people should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing of six feet per person.

• When feasible, organizers should modify events to be virtual.

• This recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operations of organizations, such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses.

Further, State Health Officer, Dr. Sonia Angell, has recommended in guidance released by the California Department Public Health on March 16.

For the complete health orders, frequently asked questions, and more information regarding COVID-19, visit www.maderacounty.com/covid19.

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