Coronavirus outbreak: Additional COVID-19 cases confirmed in 2 Bay Area counties, officials say

SAN FRANCISCO -- Additional cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in the Bay Area counties of Solano and Santa Clara, officials said Friday.

Solano County Public Health Officer Dr. Bela. T. Matyas said two new cases within that county are evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan who were quarantined at Travis Air Force Base.

"These are two cases that are in the list of evacuee cases that are transferred to local authorities, so we're obligated to announce them as Solano County cases. So they're not new to the coronavirus overall, but they become differentiated from the evacuee cases," Matyas said.

The two people from the cruise ship tested positive for the illness in Japan, then again when they arrived at the Air Force base in Fairfield. They were released by the CDC, but immediately transferred to separate health care facilities.

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"It has turned out that a couple of those individuals are Solano County residents, so we transferred responsibility from the federal quarantine, or federal isolation, to local isolation," Matyas said. "We did that so that we can get them back into their home, and it's much more comfortable for them to be in their home than in the hospital."

He said the two patients are not a danger to the public and home isolation is preferred as it frees up space for other patients in the hospital.

Health officials in the same county are still investigating people who could have come in contact with the first confirmed case in Solano County, a patient who is now hospitalized.

Health officials also confirmed the third case of novel coronavirus in Santa Clara County on Friday. Authorities say the new confirmed case is not tied to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where evacuees are being quarantined at Travis Air Force Base.

Authorities say the individual is an older adult woman who was hospitalized for a respiratory illness. Her infectious disease physician contacted the Public Health Department to request novel coronavirus testing and received results Thursday evening.

The new COVID-19 case is an instance of community spread, Santa Clara County health officials say, making it the second such case in Northern California.

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"This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear," said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. "I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease."

Due to medical privacy requirements, officials are not releasing any other information about the patient's identity. Authorities have been working to identify contacts.

"Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It's also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected," the CDC explained in their statement.

Officials addressed the new COVID-19 case via community spread in Santa Clara County. See full press conference here:

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