(From Press Release – Yolo County) – Yolo County would like to take the opportunity to address an article regarding the experience of the first confirmed COVID-19 case with our local public health system. By providing some additional context we hope to offer more clarity on our public health role during this pandemic.
Prior to addressing these concerns, we want to first express our appreciation for this individual sharing her story to help educate and inform the public about this illness. We sympathize with what must have been a very difficult and frightening situation as this individual navigated through what turned out to be the first confirmed case in Yolo County. We are thankful that this individual has recovered and hope that she continues to feel better.
Since this individual was the County’s very first case, much has changed since she was diagnosed and the County has taken away many lessons learned from those early days when the federal, state, and local entities were trying hard to ramp up response efforts to address the growing COVID-19 pandemic. To provide additional clarity, the County would like to provide some information regarding a few key concerns in the article.
- Concern regarding information in the initial press release.
An initial press release from the County announcing the first COVID-19 case described the patient as an “older woman with underlying health conditions” based on initial information received from health care providers. While a correction to this information was requested it unfortunately did not occur in the rush of containment efforts and COVID-19 related events that followed. The press release has now been updated.
- Concern over the thoroughness of contact investigations following the COVID-19 diagnosis.
Following the diagnosis of the first confirmed case, the County worked closely with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to review contacts and ensure appropriate follow-up. As a result, immediate notifications were made to the entities potentially affected which included the patient’s workplace, the county of a relative; the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to report flights travelled on; and various healthcare facilities that the patient visited. In the process of contact tracing and in consultation with the CDPH regarding potential local exposures, including a nail salon, no other contacts met the CDPH’s exposure criteria for evaluation and follow-up.
- Concern over being released from isolation prior to receiving a negative COVID-19 test.
Guidelines from the CDC and the CDPH allow patients to be released from isolation once they are symptom free for 72 hours without first having a negative COVID-19 test. Due to continued shortages on testing, tests continue to be prioritized to confirm high-risk cases and exposures and not to confirm recovery status. Additionally, due to those shortages, household contacts are currently not prioritized for testing; particularly if they are asymptomatic.
We know that many people with COVID-19 are suffering and dying from this terrible infection. Additionally, the isolation and quarantine required to fight the disease are incredibly challenging for individuals and their families. As a county we can always do better and are looking at this account as an opportunity for checking and improving our own response efforts going forward. In this consistently evolving pandemic, agencies such as Yolo County Public Health along with the local healthcare system are continually changing to better coordinate and to ensure that the various needs of patients are met.
For detailed information and guidance about COVID-19, visit the Yolo County webpage at: www.yolocounty.org/coronavirus. Residents can also call Yolo 2-1-1 for resource information. For additional updates follow Yolo County on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/YoloCounty/ or Twitter at: https://twitter.com/YoloCountyCA.