Sacramento ends coronavirus containment strategy, 14-day quarantine

Downtown Sacramento rises from the banks of the Sacramento River near the historic Tower Bridge.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Sacramento County officials announced that they would stop focusing on containing the novel coronavirus and instead implement “community mitigation measures” — a strategy that runs counter to other California counties that have called on residents to practice “social distancing.”

“It is no longer necessary for someone who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days,” the county said in a Monday night statement. “This applies to the general public, as well as health care workers and first responders.

“However, if they develop respiratory symptoms, they should stay home in order to protect those who are well.”

The county advised residents to stay home if they are sick and manage their symptoms with over-the-counter drugs, unless they are having difficulty breathing or their symptoms worsen after seeming to improve.


Additionally, residents who are older, have chronic health conditions or have severely weakened immune systems should consider staying home and away from crowded gatherings, the county said.

The statement comes as hopes of containing the virus are fading. Ten people, including one person who has recovered, have been confirmed to have the strain of coronavirus in Sacramento County.

That number includes one elementary-school-aged student in Elk Grove.

Other communities in California have focused aggressively on containment.

Santa Clara County, with 43 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death, has California’s largest number of confirmed infections.

After declining an earlier recommendation to halt mass gatherings late last week, the San Jose Sharks said the team would abide by the county’s new order at SAP Center in downtown San Jose, which is enforceable by the county sheriff and city police agencies.

“We are clearly facing a historic public health challenge,” the Santa Clara County health officer, Dr. Sara Cody, said at a news conference Monday night. “The number and type of cases to date indicate that the risk of exposure to this virus in our community is increasing.”

There has been a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in Santa Clara County, rising from 11 cases on Thursday to 43 on Monday. Of the total, 21 in Silicon Valley are believed to have been infected by someone unknown in the community, and not by having traveled to an area where the virus is circulating, nor by having been infected by someone with a confirmed case.