Link among Princess Cruise travelers

AUBURN, Calif. – Placer County Public Health confirmed three additional COVID-19 cases on Thursday evening after receiving presumptively positive test results, bringing the total number of local cases to five including the one death announced previously.

The three new cases were from South and Mid Placer and all traveled on the Grand Princess cruise ship from San Francisco to Mexico Feb. 11-21. Two had mild symptoms that have already resolved; the third currently has mild symptoms. All three are isolated at home and none required hospitalization.

Placer County Public Health is in the initial stages of contact investigations for these passengers to identify any potential exposures that may have occurred in the window of concern.

“We are moving as quickly as possible to limit the spread of disease,” said Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “To be frank, we would not be surprised to see a second wave of cases connected to these cruise passengers given the amount of time that’s passed since they disembarked.”

Placer County Public Health contacted all cruise passengers in the Placer jurisdiction after receiving a list from the cruise company on Wednesday and all are in quarantine through Friday, March 6; that is, 14 days since disembarking. Those exhibiting or who have exhibited any symptoms of illness are being tested and additional results are expected in the coming days. Going forward, updated case numbers will be posted to on a regular basis.

Public Health strongly urges that community members take precautions to help prevent the spread of illness including COVID-19:

  • Washing hands with liquid soap and water, and rubbing for at least 20 seconds, or using alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
  • Staying home if you are sick; and
  • Regularly cleaning surfaces touched by many people.

“The vast majority of those who contract COVID-19 exhibit mild symptoms,” Sisson said.

“But, we are concerned for more vulnerable members of our community who are more at risk of severe illness.”

In addition to those basic steps the public at large can take to prevent illness, Placer County Public Health recommends additional measures to prevent exposure among vulnerable people, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions (such as diabetes, cancer, immunodeficiency, asthma, COPD and others). Public Health recommends that vulnerable people:

  • Stay home as much as possible. Arrange for someone to deliver groceries and other items you need. Ensure you have at least a two-week supply of medication on hand.
  • When staying home, healthy visitors are fine – but visitors who have fever, cough, or sore throat should be turned away. Encourage phone calls and video chats instead.
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating or before touching your face.
  • If you need to leave the house, minimize contact with other people and with common surfaces. Stay at least six feet away from others. Avoid touching shared surfaces like door handles, or counters. Use clothing or a paper towel instead of bare hands to open doors, for example. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after touching any shared surfaces or objects.

Placer County Public Health will continue to reevaluate its recommendations and will issue new guidance as appropriate.

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