Officials from San Mateo County's 23 school districts were meeting Friday morning (Feb. 28) with county health department officials to discuss the novel coronavirus that's infected more than 80,000 people around the world, at the same time that the health department reported that the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has transferred someone who tested positive for the respiratory disease to a county hospital.
San Mateo County Health, the county's health department, has not released the name of the hospital or any information on the patient, who returned from traveling abroad, according to a Feb. 27 report by KRON 4 News. The health department's website confirms that the person was transferred to the county, but that it "will not be releasing any further details at this time" on the case. This is the first patient who has been reported to be treated in the county for the coronavirus.
As of Thursday, there were a total of 33 people found to have the virus in California, 24 of whom had returned home from another country, according to the California Department of Public Health’s website. The other nine confirmed cases include seven that are travel-related, one due to person-to-person exposure from a close contact and one from an unknown source in Solano County.
Meanwhile, the illness that emerged in China late last year, named COVID-19, was an agenda topic for the monthly meeting of school district superintendents in the county, a San Mateo County Office of Education spokesperson said. The spokesperson could not confirm the time or location of the meeting, but said it took place on Friday morning.
KRON 4 News also reported on Thursday that the districts were meeting with San Mateo County Health to "make a unified plan for how they will deal with coronavirus if it continues to spread and advance."
Menlo Park City School District Public Information Officer Parke Treadway confirmed in a Friday email that the county health department would attend the meeting to discuss the coronavirus.
The county Office of Education issued an alert on its website on Feb. 26 that the "risk of exposure to this new coronavirus is increasing over time. Travelers from mainland China arriving in the United States since February 3, 2020, should be excluded from school for 14 days, beginning the day after they left China. SMCOE and San Mateo County Health are partnering to support school districts in mitigating health risks."
Schools in The Almanac’s coverage area have put out advisories, through email and on their websites, that they are increasing cleanings of common areas such as bathrooms, water faucets, classrooms, doorknobs, playgrounds and cafeterias to minimize the spread of germs. They’re also encouraging students and teachers to stay home when sick and frequently wash their hands with soap and water and avoid touching their nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands.
"The (Sequoia Union High School) District is working with county school and health officials to review protocols for schools in the event that coronavirus spreads in San Mateo County," according to a Thursday email to Menlo-Atherton High School families from the school. "We will share more information as our preparations advance."
San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said in a statement on the health department's website that he shares "the concerns of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): we all need to be prepared for COVID-19 to spread within the United States. Our lives may be significantly disrupted by the measures needed to respond to a global pandemic. A pandemic is a global occurrence of an infectious disease. A pandemic is a disaster with unique characteristics."