SANTA CLARA (KRON) – The Santa Clara Public Health Department has confirmed the second COVID-19 infection from an unknown origin in the United States the third total infection in the county.

Santa Clara County public health officials revealed that an older adult women had caught the virus with no recent travel history or had been in contact with a traveler or infected person, becoming the second person to catch the virus form an unknown origin in the United States.

Santa Clara County Public Health Department said the person is isolated at home.

The women was initially hospitalized for a respiratory illness related to chronic health conditions before being tested after a recommendation from her infectious disease physician.

The release reads in full below.

County of Santa Clara Public Health Department Reports Third Case of COVID-19 

News highlights 

  • The third case of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County and  is not related to other cases. 
  • The third case had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected individual. 
  • Now is the time to prepare for the possibility of widespread community transmission. 

SANTA CLARA COUNTY-The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department confirms the third case of COVID-19.  This is the third case to be identified in our County, but is different from the other two cases since this person does not have a travel history nor any known contact with a traveler or infected person.  

The individual is an older adult woman with chronic health conditions who was hospitalized for a respiratory illness. Her infectious disease physician contacted the Public Health Department to discuss the case and request testing for the novel coronavirus. The County of Santa Clara Public Health Laboratory received the specimens yesterday and performed the testing. Since receiving the results last night, the department has been working to identify contacts and understand the extent of exposures. 

Due to medical privacy requirements and to protect her identity, further information about this case will not be released.  

“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. “I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease.” 

This case is important because it signals that now is the time to change course.  

The public health measures taken so far – isolation, quarantine, contract tracing, and travel restrictions – have helped to slow the spread of the disease. The department will continue to implement these measures and continue to trace close contacts of our cases to protect the health of individuals and our community.

Since the disease is here, an important priority for the department will be to conduct community surveillance to determine the extent of local transmission. Since the County Public Health Laboratory has the ability to run the test, the department can quickly evaluate what is happening in our community. 

For individuals, the recommendations are very simple, but very important: 

There are practical measures that can help limit spread by reducing exposure in community settings: 

  • Schools: should plan for absenteeism and explore options for tele-learning and enhance surface cleaning. 
  • Businesses: whenever possible, can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options and modify absenteeism policies and also enhance surface cleaning.

A day earlier, state health officials had pegged the number of people in California with the virus at 33 after investigators announced that a hospitalized woman is believed to be the first in the U.S. to be infected without traveling internationally or being in close contact with anyone who had it.

On Thursday a Solano County woman was the first person in the U.S. to come down with the Coronavirus without being in contact with an infected person or traveling to areas with the virus.

In Santa Clara, two others had previously been diagnosed. Kendall said a man who tested positive for the virus after returning from China and stayed at home was declared fully recovered on Feb. 20. A woman who had also traveled to China tested positive for the virus on Feb. 2. and remains under quarantine at home.

This is a developing story and this page will be updated when more information becomes avaliable.