'The virus is here': New COVID-19 case with unknown source in Santa Clara County

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Isolation, quarantine and travel restrictions have helped to slow the spread of "novel coronavirus," according to Santa Clara County Public Health officials.

However, a second case of "community transmission" in the U.S., involving a Santa Clara County resident, is heightening that concern.

The County Health Department announced a third case of COVID-19, not related to the others.

In this new case, the patient had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected person.

"The virus is here, present at some level," County Health Officer, Dr. Sara Cody told reporters on Friday. "But we still don't know to what degree."

County Public Health Officials said an older adult woman was initially hospitalized with breathing issues. They report the woman's infectious disease physician reached out to the department with concern.

"They seemed to have an illness that could be compatible with COVID-19," Dr. Cody explained. "And wanted to test."

The County's Public Health Laboratory received the specimens on Wednesday and performed the testing.

Results were received on Thursday night.

RELATED: Coronavirus Outbreak: Additional COVID-19 cases confirmed in Solano and Santa Clara counties, officials say

Now the race is on to find anyone who may have been exposed.

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom called the number of test kits in California, "Simply inadequate."

By Friday, the State's Public Health Department assured that has since changed.

"As of today, there are now eight public health labs that are able to conduct testing," California Public Health Deputy Director, Dr. Charity Dean said.

The expanded testing capacity brings laboratories in Alameda County, Santa Clara County, Tulare County, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County and the State Lab in Richmond, up to speed.

Dr. Cody said the County's Public Health Department has asked the State's Public Health Department and the CDC for assistance.

"We do need everyone to start thinking about what actions they can take now, so we can we prepared for the possibility of further spread of the virus in our community," Cody told reporters.

The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department is working closely with the CDC and recommend these measures for individuals and communities to stay healthy amid the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Keep your hands clean. It is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. And always need to cover your cough and stay home when you are sick.
  • Start working on not touching your face because one way viruses spread is when you touch your own mouth, nose or eyes.
  • Since we know the disease is here, we all need to stay away from people who are sick.
  • Start thinking about family preparedness, how to take care of sick family while not getting infected. Think about a room to isolate a sick person.

Dr. Cody said the department is now turning to community surveillance. She explained, it's a way of looking for a disease or health condition, so that officials can understand the scope and magnitude of a health problem.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.