Coronavirus outbreak: Sonoma County officials declare health emergency, healdsburg school closes

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Sonoma County Officials declared a health and local emergency over the coronavirus. Their message? They want residents to take this health threat very seriously.

The second and most recent in the county is a Sonoma County resident. Officials say the resident recently returned from a cruise ship that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico. They were in the county for 10 days and are currently being treated at a local hospital.

Officials say they're still working on which cruise ship that was.

People in Sonoma County are being very cautious.

A parent at a private elementary school in Healdsburg alerted school staff Sunday night they may have been exposed to someone with the virus.

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Head of The Healdsburg School, Andy Davies, said once that parent reached out, they tried contacting the Public Health Department to discuss the matter, but it was after hours.

"We reached out to public health which of course it was closed after hours. And this morning we made the very cautious decision to close today. I feel like it was the right call to make. I feel like it was a very cautious call, but I'd rather err on the side of caution," Davies said.

At a press conference, Sonoma County leaders answered questions regarding the health and local emergency declarations. These proclamations will allow the county to prepare and respond for the possibility of community spread of COVID-19.

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Director of Emergency Management, Chris Godley, said proclaiming an emergency in the county allows them to reassign staff and get ready.

Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Celeste Philip said they are backtracking where this latest patient began having symptoms. This is the second COVID-19 case in the county. The first was announced on February 25. That patient was transferred from Travis Air Force Base and is currently getting care at a hospital in Sonoma County- but is not a Sonoma County resident.

Dr. Celeste Philip said they are awaiting public lab tests in the county and are hoping they arrive later this week.

Deputy Superintendent of Sonoma County Office of Education Janice Snyder said currently public schools are not being effected.

Dr. Celeste Philip said The Healdsburg School is undergoing environmental cleaning and will reopen on Tuesday. She wants people in the community to remain vigilant and know that this is still flu season.

Susan Gorin, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair, says there will be a special Supervisors meeting on Wednesday at 4pm to ratify the declaration.

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