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Marin County’s public health officer has coronavirus and a message for his community

Marin County’s public health officer has tested positive for coronavirus infection and offered an urgent message to others in his community.

In a video message recorded Sunday night, Dr. Matt Willis announced that he tested positive for the virus that afternoon. Willis said he has been self-quarantined from his family since his symptoms first appeared late last week.

“My case is further proof that COVID-19 is with us,” said Willis. “While my symptoms are now mild, as most people’s will be, we also know that for many, especially our elders, this same illness can be life threatening.”

Willis’ source of exposure is currently unknown, because he has met with healthcare workers in the Bay Area.

He said he didn’t know how he was exposed but he has “been actively meeting with healthcare workers around the Bay Area as part of his work to coordinate Marin County’s response to COVID-19.”

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“Either way, it’s a clear sign of what we’ve been saying all along,” added Willis. “I didn’t necessarily think I would be such an early example of the fact this is in our community.”

Marin County has 38 confirmed cases out of 430 people tested. Four are hospitalized.

Concerned about large crowds over the weekend, Marin County closed all its parks, including such iconic locations as Point Reyes National Seashore, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Muir Woods National Monument and Point Bonita Lighthouse.

“Stay in place and limit anything outside the home to only essential trips,” Willis added in his statement. “Because we’re seeing signs of our responders being exposed and pulled away from duty, we need to double down on our efforts to limit countywide exposures.

You can help us lessen the burden on our healthcare system by simply slowing the rate of spread. That we do have some control over.”


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