First Coronavirus Cases Cited in Contra Costa County


Magnified and digitally colorized image of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (Photo Courtesy of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).

Vania Prayogo, Staff member

Contra Costa County’s first novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case was confirmed on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

As reported by Kron4, three coronavirus patients had been evacuated from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship stationed off Japan. They were transported Tuesday morning from Travis Air Force Base in Solano County to Contra Costa due to a lack of isolation space near the base.

According to health officials, the transfer was crucial to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. 

In a press release from Contra Costa Health Services, the patients didn’t become infected in the county. However, further details about those infected will not be released in order to protect their medical privacy. 

“Our county’s healthcare system is prepared to handle COVID-19,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, a CCHS officer. “We have been working with our hospital partners to follow safety protocols to keep patients and healthcare workers safe and minimize the risk of the virus spreading in Contra Costa.” 

According to the county’s official website, any Contra Costa residents who has been feeling symptoms and been in close physical proximity to someone who traveled in the last 14 days from China experiencing symptoms should contact their healthcare providers. 

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) said symptoms of the COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Those symptoms may appear in as few as two days to as many as 14 days after exposure to COVID-19, based on previous cases of the MERS-CoV incubation period. 

According to CCHS, the best way to reduce the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is to practice good hygiene:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
  • People who are sick should always cover their coughs and sneezes using a tissue or the crook of their elbow; wash your hands after using a tissue to wipe your nose or mouth.
  • People who are sick should stay home from work or school until they are well.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your unwashed hands.

All travelers to the United States from China since Feb. 2 have also been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days under the guidance of the county’s public health department. Contra Costa residents can track the spread of the novel coronavirus by clicking on this link. Additionally, people can learn more about the virus on the CCHS index page