County’s first ‘presumptive positive’ coronavirus case confirmed

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego County health officials confirmed the county’s first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in a local resident Monday evening.

The case is considered a presumptive positive until test results are confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s health officer, said the patient is a woman in her 50s, and described the infection as related to “overseas travel.” County officials did not specify what country the patient had visited, but the location did not subject her to an automatic 14-day quarantine when she returned — an indication she did not travel to high-danger countries such as China or northern Italy.

Wooten said the patient is hospitalized and “doing well.” She said health officials are continuing to investigate to determine who may have come into contact with the woman.

Dr. Eric McDonald of the county’s Epidemiology Immunization Branch said there is a “household contact,” and that person is under a self-quarantine. Some health care workers may have also been exposed. McDonald said the patient became sick and was hospitalized, and eventually met the criteria to be tested for coronavirus, leading to the positive result.

He said there is not believed to have been any contact with the “general public.”

Although the patient is considered the county’s first coronavirus case, the illness has had a presence in the San Diego area. Last week, authorities confirmed that a person who works at an AT&T retail store in Chula Vista had tested positive for the illness, prompting the temporary closure of some AT&T stores in the area. That patient was not considered a San Diego County case because the person actually lives in Orange County.

The county also had two previous coronavirus cases from among more than 200 people who were being housed under quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar after being evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Those two patients have both since recovered.

In the coming days, MCAS Miramar is expected to again become a quarantine location, this time for some of the California resident passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked Monday in Oakland. The ship had been offshore pending test results that showed at least 21 of the 3,000 people aboard had tested positive for the illness.

At least 1,000 of the passengers are California residents, and they will be held under 14-day quarantine. Some of the passengers will be quarantined at Miramar, and others will be held at Travis Air Force Base northeast of Oakland.

Other passengers are expected to be taken to Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.

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