Tulare County Public Health Branch has confirmed community spread of COVID-19 in Tulare County as there are multiple clusters of COVID-19 and several cases of unknown origin. Community spread, or transmission, means the spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown or cannot be directly traced back to a known exposure.
“As of April 6, 2020, there are 135 total cases of COVID-19,” stated Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer. “Tulare County Public Health Branch has been conducting investigations on every case to ascertain the transmission type, called contact tracing. This serves to contain the spread of the virus by ensuring contacts of affected cases are notified.”
As the amount of confirmed cases climb, the number of contacts rises too, increasing the difficulty of tracking cases. All confirmed case patients are isolated, those who had close contacts with the patients have been quarantined, and contacts with symptoms are tested.
Nine positive cases have been confirmed for the zip code of 93221 (includes Exeter, Yokohl, Tooleville, Lindcove, and Rocky Hill). No positives cases have as yet been confirmed for the zip codes of 93271 (Three Rivers) or 93237 (Kaweah).
Tulare County Public Health continues contact tracing and is focusing on efforts to curb the surge’s growth by keeping people apart and ensuring a high level of transparency and community messaging about the risks and ways to avoid COVID-19.
Dr. Haught advises, “If an individual has to go out for an essential function a cloth face mask should be used if social distancing cannot be fully maintained to decrease the spread of the virus and the possibility of transmitting the virus to others. This is consistent with new CDC recommendation. The most important thing is to stay home except for essential functions like grocery shopping and getting medications.”
Continue to frequently wash your hands with soap and water and regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Work from home if possible. Self-isolate when you are sick, even with mild symptoms.
“Remember, one of our primary goals is to flatten the curve and limit the number of new cases so as not to overwhelm medical resources,” continued Dr. Haught.
Be assured, public and private agencies are working hard to provide a high-level response to this pandemic.
“We need the community and individuals to continue to take personal responsibility,” Dr. Haught said.
Public health officials have also launched a seven-day-a-week hotline for questions about COVID-19, please dial 2-1-1.
For more information about COVID-19, visit www.tchhsa.org/ncov, https://www.facebook.com/TulareCountyHHSA/, and https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx.