Today, March 15, 2020, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors and the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) declared a local and public health emergency in response to the second confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the potential for increased spread in the U.S. and Fresno County.
“Ensuring the health and safety of Fresno County residents is our top priority and that means making sure we have access to adequate resources and equipment to better protect our community should the threat of COVID-19 increase in Fresno County,” says Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County Interim Health Officer.
“Fresno County will continue to mobilize resources, continue with emergency planning, and coordinate with partners and agencies to ensure our community has the information and resources necessary to prepare and help protect against further COVID-19 spread in the community,” says Jean M. Rousseau, County Administrative Officer.
Dr. Vorha; CAO Rousseau; Director of Fresno County Dept. of Public Health, David Pomaville; and Director of Fresno County Dept. of Behavioral Health, Dawan Utecht; addressed local media alongside Fresno County Supervisors, Brian Pacheco (Distrist 1), Steve Brandau (Dist. 2), Sal Quintero (Dist 3), Buddy Mendes (Dist 4), Nathan Magsig (Dist 5); Fresno County Sheriff, Margaret Mims; and Fresno Mayor, Lee Brand.
FCDPH is prepared to manage and investigate suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the County. FCDPH continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and local partners in order to provide Fresno County residents accurate information about how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses such as Influenza.
Steps to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections are:
- Stay home if you are sick
- Call your doctor before going into the healthcare facility or clinic
- If you do not have a doctor, call the FCDPH before going in
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Get your flu vaccine to protect yourself and others. (Flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19 but can prevent being infected with influenza and COVID-19 at the same time which can further weaken an individual’s immune system).
Although individual risk for becoming infected with COVID-19 remains low for most residents in Fresno County, residents should still prepare for the possibility of further significant social distancing, should there become increased community spread.
Preparation measures should include:
- Having a reasonable supply of essentials at home (including water, food, hygiene products, medications, and pet food) in case the need to stay home arises
- Planning for the possibility of business disruptions, school closures, and modifications/cancellations of certain public events
- Practicing simple social distancing strategies that limit your exposure to others who may be sick (verbal greetings instead of handshakes and hugs, no sharing of utensils, cups, personal items and linens, staying 6 feet away from others in public settings).
Fresno County officials are asking businesses, schools, and community-based organizations to prepare plans that allow people to stay home if they are sick without the risk of being academically or financially penalized. Please make arrangements for sick employees or students to work or complete assignments from home.
FCDPH is requesting organizations to do the following to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses:
- Implement a cleaning and disinfecting schedule for frequently touched surfaces
- Ensure that your continuity of operations plans (COOP) are up to date, so their essential functions can continue
- Do not require a doctor’s note for staff returning to work after being sick, when possible. This will reduce the strain on the healthcare system.
FCDPH will be taking measures to implement the following:
- Ensure that individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their identified close contacts are being closely monitored and supported while they are in self-isolation
- Frequent updates and guidance for childcare facilities, schools, colleges/universities, employers, hotels, first responders, shelters, congregate living facilities and parents on how to prepare to reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Weekly teleconferences with elected officials, city managers, schools, healthcare facilities, first responders, and partners
- Constant communication and preparation with first responders and health care workers. Ensuring there is adequate supply of PPE.
For more information about COVID-19, visit these resources:
- Fresno County Department of Public Health: www.fcdph.org/covid19
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/covid19
- California Department of Public Health: www.cdph.ca.gov/covid19