San Francisco health and city officials Thursday confirmed the first two cases of novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
Mayor London Breed said at a press conference:
“Today, we are announcing the first two cases of coronavirus in our city. They’ve been detected here in San Francisco. These individuals are contained.”
Adding that The City has been preparing for this inevitability for weeks, the mayor said:
“We are prepared as a city. We want to people to continue to do exactly what we’ve asked people to do and that is make sure you’re washing your hands and that you’re doing the things that are going to help protect yourselves in the midst of what we know could continue to be a virus that spreads.”
Dr. Grant Colfax, the director of The City’s Department of Public Health, said the first patient is a male in his 90s who had other health issues and is in serious condition. The second patient is a female in her 40s in fair condition.
Colfax said the two patients are isolated and being treated at two different hospitals. He said they were both tested by The City’s local lab Wednesday, where health officials began testing for the virus this week, and results were returned Thursday morning.
“The patients do not have history of travel to a location with confirmed COVID-19 cases and have no known contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 case.”
Both cases in San Francisco are similar to those seen regionally where the virus origin is unknown and transmitted through the community, Colfax said.
No other patient information was provided due to privacy concerns.
Meanwhile, a cruise ship that was bound to berth in San Francisco from Hawaii Thursday was stopped from doing so on Wednesday.
Mary Ellen Carroll, the executive director of San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management, said 35 people aboard the ship presented with flu-like symptoms during the course of the 15-day cruise.
Carroll said many of them have recovered and are no longer showing flu-like symptoms. She did not say how many have recovered.
Tests are being administered on board the ship to anyone with the flu-like symptoms and once tests are confirmed, Carroll said the state and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make the decision as to where the ship should dock.
“The location needs to provide the safety of the surrounding community as well as the passengers on board.”
Carroll said tests from the ship will be sent to a state lab and she expects to receive results by Friday.
The Princess Cruise Ship is carrying 2,823 passengers onboard with 1,100 crew members, Carroll said.
The ship had already docked in San Francisco on Feb. 21 from a previous trip to Mexico where a 71-year-old male from Placer County tested positive for the virus and died, health officials said Wednesday.
City officials said they are making contact with residents who may have been aboard the ship during the Mexico trip.
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. He covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent over a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a native in the city and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Email tips to [email protected]