MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County’s first case of community-spread coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported Saturday, bringing the countywide total number of confirmed cases among residents to now eight.
According to the latest report from Monterey County Health Department, four of the cases are travel-related, two are from person-to-person transmission, one is through community transmission and the other is under investigation.
Following the county’s first two positive COVID-19 cases announced earlier this week, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System confirmed that two more patients had tested positive for the virus after they arrived separately at the Salinas hospital Thursday. A fifth individual was reported in Friday’s update from the county, followed by the latest two cases announced in Saturday’s report.
As of March 19, Monterey County Health Department’s Public Health Laboratory has completed COVID-19 testing for 202 people.
“The most recent confirmed cases represent an increased risk of community spread of COVID-19 virus,” stated Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer, in a news release Friday. “Community spread increases the likelihood that our older adults will be exposed. Older adults are at greater risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19.”
After Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home order Thursday, Moreno reissued the county’s shelter-in-place order that went into effect the day before on March 18, removing the end date of April 7 to align with the state’s direction. The restrictions will remain in place until further notice.
California residents are advised to stay indoors, and only leave their home for essential items or services, to help combat the outbreak.
“It is imperative that all county residents adhere to my County Health Officer Shelter in Place Order and stay at home unless you need to access essential services or are a provider of essential services,” Moreno said. “In addition, all employers should identify solutions that allow employees to work from home.”
Monterey County Health Department also changed its plan for weekly updates to now updating daily on its website. The latest data will “only report cases which have been confirmed and the individual has been notified,” said Communications Coordinator Maia Carroll.
Local data can be found on the health department’s COVID-19 information page www.mtyhd.org/covid19 using the “Testing and Case Numbers” link.