SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Santa Cruz County Health Officials took action just hours after learning a resident tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the first case of the virus in Santa Cruz County.
"Santa Cruz County Public Health is conducting a thorough investigation to identify any potential exposures that may have occurred. As the outbreak continues to spread, Santa Cruz County Public Health anticipates that there will be additional reported local cases." Santa Cruz County Health Officer, Dr. Gail Newel.
Health officials revealed a Santa Cruz County resident traveled from San Francisco to Mexico on a Grand Princess cruise ship, disembarked on February 21, and learned this Friday that they have contracted the virus. The identity of the individual diagnosed remains private.
The same ship went on to Hawaii. It is now being held off the coast of California where 21 passengers and crew members tested positive for Coronavirus.
"This is a travel related case and not a case of community spread. As I mentioned earlier, we don't have any evidence that COVID-19 is spreading throughout the County of Santa Cruz," said Newel.
Residents said they can't help but feel anxious about the newly announced case and notice slight changes to their day-to-day lives. "At my work I see people wearing masks, gloves and asking for hand sanitizer. Everywhere is sold out of hand sanitizer." said Carissa Leads in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz County declared a local health emergency on March 4, but emphasized that risk in the community still remains low.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) altered Santa Cruz County of travelers returning to the Central Coast from their travels aboard the Grand Princess. Officials said each of these individuals are being monitored by the health department and are under self-quarantine. None, other than the individual diagnosed, have exhibited symptoms so far.
"We have great staff here at Santa Cruz County Public Health who understand what it takes to fight epidemics. We have effectively done it before. We will do it again this time," Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors 1st District, John Leopold.