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No reports of coronavirus in Sonoma Valley

Coronavirus is spreading across the globe, and Sonoma County issued a health alert last Friday, but local officials said there is no cause for action in Sonoma Valley.

Both the city and school district are working with Sonoma County agencies to stay up-to-date. The county issued a health emergency Monday, but said county residents remain at low risk of becoming infected with coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Public information resources, protocols and plans are being updated and implemented with the county as the lead since this is a public health issue,” said Cathy Capriola, city manager.

It’s still “a little early” for questions about closing schools, said Socorro Shiels, superintendent of Sonoma Valley Unified School District, but she said they are staying in touch with “Sonoma County public health officials, medical experts, and the Sonoma County Office of Education to remain up to date and informed about how the coronavirus may impact our Valley.”

The Healdsburg School, a private school in Healdsburg, canceled classes on Monday as a precautionary measure after learning that someone in the school community came in contact with a coronavirus patient.

Two coronavirus patients who were transferred to the county are being treated in an unidentified hospital in Sonoma County, officials reported on Monday.

Capriola and Shiels said they receive information and updates from Sonoma Valley Hospital, which is monitoring the outbreak. Hospital CEO Kelly Mather said in a statement that they are following “readiness and response protocols” of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CPDH) and the Sonoma County Department of Public Health (SCDPH).

The hospital created a resource page that includes information from those agencies. They are also asking of everyone entering the hospital for the past 14 days of travel history, if they have had close contact with anyone who has traveled internationally, and if they have any symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath.

There have been no reports of anyone in Sonoma Valley who has shown symptoms, Mather said in a statement.

Dr. Chris Braden, a spokesperson for the CDC, said during a press conference held Feb. 28 in Santa Clara - where there are three coronavirus cases reported - that those who are most at risk of contracting the virus or getting seriously ill are older people, especially those who already have “other medical conditions that may affect immune systems.”

Braden said the virus can survive on surfaces “for a long period of time, more than days, but it is also very susceptible to cleaning products,” and that there is a very low likelihood that someone could become infected from surface contact. Person-to-person transmission is the main concern, he said.

The “vast majority” of people who contract Covid-19 “don’t have severe disease,” but they may also be the people who do not seek care “and may spread it the most,” Braden said.

Santa Rosa Junior College is also working with SCDHS and posted a coronavirus update on its website with the latest information from the county and CDC and confirmed that there are no reports of infection on the campus.

CalMatters reported that schools in Solano County, where the first community-spread transmission was reported, parents have the option of keeping their children home and learning through independent study. Nurses were sent to other school districts to teach proper hand washing and the correct way to cover a cough or sneeze.

Recommendations for people with respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing or coughing, or those with a fever, should consider contacting a physician and are encouraged to stay home and do not have close contact with others.

As of Monday, March 2, there are more than 90,000 confirmed cases worldwide and more than 3,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus map. Mainland China reports more than 80,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,800 deaths related to Covid-19.

The U.S. reports more than 100 confirmed cases and six deaths, as of press time.

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