Local Health Officers Following Latest Coronavirus Updates
Last updated 4/18/2020 at 5:46pm | View PDF
Tulare and Kings Counties are working closely with the California Department of Public Health and other health partners, and following the latest news about the new Novel Coronavirus (recently renamed COVID-19), which caused an outbreak of respiratory illness in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December.
Since then, the outbreak has expanded in scope and magnitude, and there is a growing number of cases in the United States, including 15 in California (at press time).
To date, there have been no suspected cases in Tulare or Kings Counties.
So far, only individuals who have traveled to China or have been in close contact with individuals who recently traveled from China have been considered at risk.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, similar to the common cold, while others are found in animals.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "the complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood." Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. The people who have been sick are between 15 and 81 years old.
Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties, which may occur two days to two weeks after exposure. More serious symptoms have been occurring in those who are older.
Kings County Public Health Officer Dr. Milton Teske recommends that if you have been in China or around someone who has traveled there within the last several weeks, and you develop symptoms, call your doctor first for further information.
People are advised that taking steps to protect themselves from the flu will also help protect them from the coronavirus.
"Community members and any travelers should take precautions against becoming ill at all times, particularly as this is flu season and we are seeing high flu numbers," said Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught.
Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency's Public Health Branch is strongly encouraging community members to remember basic precautions against illnesses during this time of the year, such as:
• Regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer if no soap is available.
• Cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Get a flu shot – it isn't too late in the season.
• Avoid contact with sick individuals.
• Stay home if you have symptoms of illness, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
• Use medications as instructed by your physician.
Dr. Haught notes the importance of contacting a doctor immediately when you see signs of serious illness, some of which vary depending on age:
• Adults may experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, dizziness, confusion, vomiting and dehydration.
• Children may experience hyperventilation or difficulty breathing, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, irritability and restlessness.
• Infants may experience decreased appetite and dehydration.
• Fever returning after the illness has resolved indicates a need for medical care.
Individuals with flu symptoms, particularly those with risk factors such as pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease, and children age five and younger, should talk to their healthcare providers about antiviral medication.
Up-to-date information is on the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html.