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Health officials give update on first presumptive coronavirus case in San Diego

The woman was hospitalized and remains at a local hospital in isolation with serious symptoms.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County health officials on Monday reported the first presumptive coronavirus case in San Diego. 

The patient is a woman who recently traveled internationally. She is in her 50s, according San Diego County health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.

The woman was hospitalized and remains at a local hospital in isolation with serious symptoms. 

Her test results came back positive late this afternoon at the County Public Health Laboratory, which is sending specimens to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for final confirmation.

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“We knew we would see cases in San Diego County and were prepared for them,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The public should be assured that we are following CDC guidance and continue taking appropriate steps to keep the novel coronavirus from spreading.”

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HHSA is aggressively working to find out where she had been prior to being hospitalized and how many people had close contact with her. The appropriate people will be placed under self-quarantine and monitored for possible symptoms of COVID-19.

All precautions have been taken to limit the spread contact investigations for potential exposures. 

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, and some health care workers may have 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. 

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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.