Several Bay Area counties actively taking precautions as coronavirus outbreak worsens

ByLuz Pena and Kris Reyes KGO logo
Saturday, January 25, 2020
SF's Dept. of Public Health actively preparing to respond to coronavirus
San Francisco's Department of Public Health announced that it's actively preparing to respond to cases of the coronavirus, but at this point, there are "0" cases confirmed.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's Department of Public Health announced Friday that it's actively preparing to respond to cases of the coronavirus, but at this point there are "0" cases confirmed.

In San Francisco's Chinatown, many are still highly concerned and taking action.

Wearing a face mask, Oakland resident Stephanie Flores said, "I decided to put this on just for preventable measures."

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The coronavirus originating in the city of Wuhan in China has sickened more than 1,000 people worldwide and more than 40 have died.

Garland Ng, a pharmacist at Clay Medical pharmacy in San Francisco says he has seen an influx of customers buying masks even though there is no recommendation for the general public to do so.

"We are selling out of masks and people are coming in for masks," said Ng. "N95's we sold out and we can't even order them anymore. The regular masks we sold over 500."

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Health experts confirmed this virus is still very new, and they're learning more details about it.

"What we don't know is the full epidemiology since this has been a previously unknown uncharacterized virus. We don't know the full extent about the spread. There does seem to be some person to person transmission," said Dr. Susan Philip, Director for Disease Control and Prevention in San Francisco.

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According to Dr. Philip, Bay Area residents are at low risk of becoming infected. Nevertheless, this expert recommends consistent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you're sick.

"If you have traveled in the last 14 days and developed fever, or respiratory symptoms including cough, or shortness of breath," said Dr. Philip. "What we are advising they do is call their provider ahead of time."

Santa Clara County is also working with health departments all over the Bay Area and California, and with the CDC to learn everything they can about the virus then passing that information quickly to local health care providers.

New developments in the fight against the spread of the new coronavirus as Bay Area health workers are preparing in unison.

"Some of the things we do are identify cases early and get ourselves prepared to identify cases early," said Dr. Sara Cody with Santa Clara County Public Health.

At the Santa Clara County fairgrounds, preparations are still in full force for Lunar New Year celebrations, one of many happening around the Bay Area.

At the Tet festival, about 10,000 people are expected to attend. So far, only one vendor has cancelled because of concerns over the virus.

Dr. Cody says there is no reason to cancel public gatherings because there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California. The risk of infection in the Bay Area is low.

"Anyone who is feeling ill or has any symptoms of illness, I would really discourage them from going to any public gatherings of any kind," said Dr. Cody.

On Jan. 18, The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention began screening travelers arriving from Wuhan.

The CDC has confirmed two coronavirus cases in the U.S., one in Chicago and one in Washington.