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4 hospital workers among 39 coronavirus infections confirmed in Ventura County

A freeway sign urging people to wash their hands to avoid the coronavirus is seen along the 101 Freeway in Ventura County.
(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

A total of 39 coronavirus cases, including four hospital employees, have been confirmed in Ventura County as of Tuesday morning, according to the county’s public health department.

Three physicians and one administrator at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura tested positive for the virus, according to a hospital representative.

For the record:

2:23 PM, Mar. 25, 2020An earlier version of this article and the headline noted there were 41 cases of COVID-19 in Ventura County. There are 39 cases. Health officials initially tallied 41 cases on Tuesday, but two of those who tested positive live in Santa Barbara County while their tests were processed in Ventura County.

Each of the employees is “doing fine” and being quarantined at home, representative Michael Ellingson said Tuesday. No other details regarding the employees were made public. The transmission method in the infections is unknown.

There is currently only one patient with COVID-19 being treated at the hospital, Ellingson said. That patient’s condition is unknown at this time.

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In response to the recent discovery of the cases, Ellingson said that the hospital is investigatng to make sure that no other employees or patients contracted the virus as well.

“Our infection control team always conducts a thorough investigation to identify who may have had contact and we go through the [patient] history,” he said.

So far, the county has reported one death of a person their 70s who had underlying health conditions, according to the county’s incident information website. No other details were made public. COVID-19 has killed seven people in L.A. County thus far.

As of Tuesday, a total of 680 tests have been conducted in Ventura County, according to county public information officer Ashley Bautista. By Sunday, the state of California had conducted 26,400 tests.

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Health officials initially tallied 41 confirmed cases in the county Tuesday, but two of those who tested positive live in Santa Barbara County while their tests were processed in Ventura County.

The first Ventura County case was reported March 6, that of a person who had sailed on the Grand Princess cruise ship, which returned to San Francisco on Feb. 21, according to state officials.

Due to the rise in cases, the county’s public health department issued a “Stay Well at Home” emergency order through April 20, much like the orders imposed throughout the state. The department has been posting video messages from local doctors on their Facebook page to encourage people to stay at home.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office also sent out an emergency alert Monday afternoon to cellphones in the area to remind people to self-isolate and practice social distancing when outside their homes for essential services only, public information officer Eric Buschow said Tuesday.

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The Sheriff’s Office responded to sporadic complaints over the weekend that local businesses not considered essential were still operating despite the emergency order, Bushow said. However, the department didn’t issue any citations, which they consider to be a last resort, he added.

“It’s just taking the time to educate [local businesses] and making sure they understand” the orders, Bushow said. “Everybody seems to be handling this really well, better than someone would anticipate.”


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