This week rumors that the coronavirus was here in Turlock were spreading faster than the virus has been around the world.
Multiple postings on different social media platforms claimed Turlock had several confirmed cases of coronavirus, all of which were untrue.
As of Friday, the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency has no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county. The health agency has tested 11 people, three of which came back with negative results and eight are pending results. SCHSA is currently monitoring 13 people in the region.
“Do not spread rumors, stay informed by going to www.cdc.gov for factual information,” Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar said. “If there is any information that we know about we will also share it on our social media outlets i.e. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
As of Friday, California has 69 confirmed cases of coronavirus had has one death. More than 9,900 people are self-monitoring after coming into the state through the San Francisco and Los Angeles airports.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway across multiple state agencies and departments, and help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19. He also requested the Legislature make up to $20 million available for state government to respond to the spread of the virus.
On Thursday, Gov. Newsom directed all commercial and Medi-Cal health plans regulated by the Department of Managed Health Care to immediately reduce cost-sharing to zero for all medically necessary screening and testing for the coronavirus, also called COVID-19.
This includes waiving cost-sharing for emergency room, urgent care or provider office visits when the purpose of the visit is to be screened and tested for COVID-19. The need for COVID-19 testing is based on medical necessity, a clinical determination made on a case by case basis by medical professionals.
"Californians shouldn't have to fear a big medical bill just because they took a test for COVID-19," said Newsom. "This action means that Californians who fit the testing requirements can receive the test at no cost. We're all in this together, and I'm grateful to those health providers who have already stepped up and heeded our call."
"This action will ensure that Californians who need a test will receive one at no cost," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. "This doesn't mean every Californians should be seeking a test. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care."
The California Department of Insurance issued similar direction providing cost free medically necessary testing for an additional 2 million Californians. Combined these announcements ensure that 24 million more Californians are eligible to receive testing, should their health care provider deem it medically necessary.
The one death in California was of a Placer County resident who had previously been aboard a Grand Princess cruise. The cruise ship is currently off the coast in San Francisco after 21 people aboard tested positive for coronavirus. Vice President Mike Pence said everyone aboard the ship will be tested for the virus. Some of the passengers on the cruise ship include Turlock and Hilmar residents, but efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.
The new virus comes from a large family of what are known as coronaviruses, some causing nothing worse than a cold, but others cause more serious illnesses such as SARS. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath. It can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that symptoms can appear as quick as two days and up to 14 days after exposure.
The viruses are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats and it’s rare that animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people, such as the case with this current coronavirus.
First detected in December, the virus is believed to have originated in a type of wild animal sold at a Wuhan, China market to be consumed as food.
The CDC said person-to-person spread occurs mainly via respiratory droplets from when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. The virus can also be spread by face to face contact with an infected person for a prolonged time and touching an object or surface with the virus on it, and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
As with any virus, especially during the flu season, health officials remind people there are a number of steps to take to protect your health and those around you:
— Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
— Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water
are not available;
— Covering your coughs and sneezes with your arm;
— Frequent cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, and other commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes;
— Avoiding contact with people who are ill; and
— Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.