California healthcare workers, first responders test positive for coronavirus

Dr. Randy Taplitz of UCSD at a Feb. 13 news conference on the coronavirus.
Randy Taplitz, clinical director of infection prevention at UC San Diego Health, in early February updates the media on patients being treated for the coronavirus at UCSD facilities.
(John Gibbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The new coronavirus is beginning to take a toll on medical workers and other first responders at a time when they are needed to help treat patients.

Two healthcare workers at UC San Diego Health have confirmed COVID-19 infections and are now on home quarantine, officials said Saturday.

The university’s statement did not specify which facilities the employees worked at or their positions. It was also unclear whether either employee was wearing personal protective equipment while on duty.


Both employees are said to be in good health, and the university has “launched an extensive effort to identify any patients or health system colleagues who may have been in recent contact with either of the two health workers.”

UCSD Health did confirm that both employees who tested positive picked up their infections in the community, rather than from a patient already known to have the disease.

In San Franscisco, two UCSF health workers tested positive and had self-quarantined.

“Based on our investigation thus far, there is reason to believe that their exposure to the virus was from sources outside of our clinical facilities,” officials said in a statement to local media, “but we are still working to make a final assessment.”

In San Jose, 10 firefighters have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Los Angeles Police Department on Sunday confirmed its first coronavirus case. The supervisor in the Pacific Division felt ill and went home Monday, officials said.

Some Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel are under isolation and being monitored after they treated a coronavirus patient who died. Officials said the medical call came March 9, when personnel dealt with a person in cardiac arrest. Later, the department learned the patient died and had COVID-19. Fire personnel exposed to the patient “have been isolated from work and are now undergoing active monitoring at home. Our personnel are currently symptom free and are being reviewed regularly for any developing symptoms,” the department said in a statement.