First Coronavirus Case Confirmed in Humboldt County

State officials have confirmed Humboldt County’s first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Humboldt General Hospital received the positive test result Thursday, March 26, from the Nevada Department of Public and Behavioral Health, at which time hospital officials notified the patient.

After feeling symptoms, the patient was tested earlier this week for coronavirus and has been in self-quarantine since.

Humboldt County Health Officer Charles Stringham, MD, said efforts are ongoing to trace the patient’s close contacts.

Per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any additional persons who may have been exposed also will be asked to self-quarantine.

Dr. Stringham said there is an average time of 5.1 days between exposure to the virus and the appearance of symptoms; however, symptoms may appear as early as 48 hours from time of initial exposure up to 14 days.

Dr. Stringham agreed that while the news of the coronavirus case in Humboldt County may be unsettling, “the community is in a good position to reduce the rate at which the virus spreads,” he said.

“That is absolutely paramount for all of us to understand,” he continued. “We have some very good information at our disposal to help us mitigate the risk to ourselves and our family members, including frequent hand washing, social distancing and more.”

Dr. Stringham said he has been regularly informed of the hospital’s continuing preparations over the past months to respond to the COVID-19 virus.

“I think the hospital really did a great job in this case,” he said. “The practitioner who saw this patient did exactly what he should to ensure both the patient’s health and the community’s safety.”

Earlier Thursday, Humboldt General Hospital announced a no-visitation policy for all areas of the hospital. Exceptions to this visitor protocol may include pediatric patients, obstetric patients and those receiving end-of-life care.

Previously, the hospital reduced the number of entry points to the hospital, and initiated a screening process for patients, visitors and employees.

“This can be a dangerous virus from a population standpoint, in that it can spread quickly from person to person,” said Dr. Stringham, “but we do not need to panic.”

“If everyone tries to do the right things, then we can fight this.”

Dr. Stringham counseled community members to observe everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others.
  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Serious respiratory illnesses are spread by cough, sneezing or unclean hands.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Remember to clean your cellphone.
  • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.

Humboldt County residents should visit the hospital’s website at www.hghospital.org and click on the banner at the top of the homepage for complete COVID-19 guidance.

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