First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Fresno County

Grand Princess
The Fresno County Department of Public Health confirmed Saturday that a Grand Princess cruise ship passenger who returned home March 6 tested positive for COVID-19.
(Luis M. Alvarez / Associated Press)

A Grand Princess Cruise passenger has become the first person in Fresno County to test positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, health officials announced Saturday.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health said two travelers presented themselves for testing at a local hospital on March 6 after returning from a cruise. One test “has returned as a presumptive positive case,” the health department said in a statement.

The individual, who was not identified, has not been hospitalized but instead is home and “self-monitoring.”

“What that means is that the health department stays in contact with the person and monitors the symptoms,” David Luchini, assistant director of the county health department, said in an interview.


Luchini said the health department will provide more details at a news conference on Sunday morning.

The Grand Princess sailed to Mexico last month. One of the passengers, a 75-year-old man from Placer County, died of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The ship then traveled to Hawaii with nearly 3,000 passengers, at least 21 of whom are now infected with the coronavirus. The vessel has returned to the Bay Area but is being held off the coast of San Francisco while officials try to figure out what to do with the passengers.

Health officials say the case was travel-related and not an instance of community spread.


The county health department also said there is no immediate threat to the general public, and that school closures and event cancellations are not recommended.

“Fresno County residents, students, workers, and visitors should continue to engage in their regular activities and practice good public health hygiene as this is the height of flu season,” the statement stated.

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