SLO County declares local health emergency related to coronavirus

Posted at 11:15 AM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 21:41:56-04
SLO County declares local health emergency related to coronavirus

San Luis Obispo County declared a local health emergency on Friday in response to the spread of the coronavirus.

The declaration will free up resources for the county to respond to COVID-19.

County officials say there have been no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in San Luis Obispo County to date; however, tests are currently underway.

As of Friday afternoon, the county says they have conducted 48 tests, but that number could quickly increase.

They have the capacity to conduct 50 tests a day and test results are available within a few hours, according to Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein.

Another test kit from the CDC is on the way to San Luis Obispo County, Borenstein says. Each kit accommodates about 300 individuals.

As of today, with updated information from CDC, only one specimen is needed per person for a test. In the past, three specimens were needed per person, meaning only 100 individuals were able to be tested per kit.

While events of 250 or more people have been advised to be canceled, health officials say weddings, funerals and farmers markets may proceed as normal.

Dr. Borenstein said she is not recommending at this time that local schools be closed because of the "huge societal disruption" that could cause. She added that the coronavirus pandemic is sparing children, for the most part, and of all global cases, only 2% have been in children and most of those cases were mild.

According to Borenstein, social distancing is the most important and effective thing to do if you don't have cases.

The announcement of the health emergency was made during a press conference, which can be viewed below: