Sacramento County declared a public health emergency Thursday, one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state emergency following the first California death linked to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
County officials said the declaration isn't a signal of increased risk to the public, but a way to get access to potential state or federal funding.
“The proclamation should not be considered a reason for elevated concern," Phil Serna, chairman of the county board of supervisors, wrote in a statement. "In fact, it is quite the opposite as it helps us in our mission to contain the virus.”
Sacramento reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case Feb. 21. Last week, it was announced that the patient showing the first case of community spread was being treated at the UC Davis Medical Center in the city of Sacramento.
Wednesday, Sacramento County health services director Dr. Peter Beilenson said its public health lab started processing COVID-19 kits on Sunday and has tested “a few dozen” people so far. None have tested positive.
The department has monitored roughly 150 people total, while periodically taking those who test negative for the virus or positive for something else off of the investigation list.
Before the declaration, Beilenson said that additional funding could potential reimburse the county for costs such as overtime for staff or training.
On Wednesday, Placer County declared a local health emergency and announced that a resident was the first California death connected to coronavirus. San Francisco, Orange, Solano and Marin are among the California counties that have declared a local emergency.
According to the California Department of Public Health, as of Wednesday there were 60 positive COVID-19, including 24 cases from people who contracted the disease outside of the country and returned to the state.
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