Though they are declining to release much more specific information
about the newly diagnosed COVID-19 patient in Humboldt County, local
public health officials want to assure the public that there is no
cause for panic.
Teresa Frankovich, the county’s public health officer, told the
Outpost that the two
local people who are currently in self-isolation in their home –
one of whom was officially confirmed to have contracted the virus,
the other showing symptoms – traveled back to Humboldt County from
mainland China near the end of January. They hadn’t visited Hubei
Province, the epicenter of the epidemic.
that the people in question have been “extremely conscientious and
compliant,” and have, throughout, taken every care to prevent the
virus’s possible spread.
At the same time,
Frankovich declined to release information about the ages or sexes
of the patients, or what part of the county they live in, how they
traveled back to Humboldt or when, precisely, they presented
themselves to the hospital.
“It’s not just
an issue of patient confidentiality, but the truth of the matter is
that it’s really not relevant,” Frankovich said. “Obviously
people are interested in knowing because they’re concerned about
whether they may have been exposed in their community. The messaging
we want people to hear is that we are reaching out to anyone who is a
close contact, who would be considered at risk. So if [people] were
not contacted, they should be reassured by that.”
Frankovich did say
that she believed that the people went to the hospital “within the
last week or so,” and that the health department received
confirmation of the positive test for the virus yesterday afternoon.
She said that the
patients took their high-risk status into consideration when they
went to the hospital for care. They wore surgical masks, and
awareness of the patients’ at-risk status allowed hospital staff to
get them out of the waiting room, and also take precautions to
protect themselves from potential infection.
that there’s no medical reason for the patients to be out of their
home and in care at the moment. Public health staff are checking on
their condition frequently, and she said that the general public has
no reason to fear coming into contact with them while they are still
“These people were
not out circulating in our community,” Frankovich said. “They’re
extremely conscientious and very compliant with all that we’ve
asked of them. Really, it’s not an easy thing for anyone,
obviously. They have been excellent about this, and because they have
the community has really not been placed at risk because of them.”