While there has yet to be a case of the Wuhan/novel coronavirus in San Francisco, health officials are preparing for the inevitability/possibility that a case will appear here — and Zuckerberg SF General is prepared with 50 isolation rooms that will keep patients from transmitting the virus to others.
SF General is preparing to host its first patients, if and when the coronavirus outbreak reaches San Francisco. As KRON4 reports, hospital staff plans to treat patients while wearing protective gear, and the 50 isolation rooms are built so as not to allow air to escape. Conflicting reports of the ability of the virus to be transmitted through the air came out of China over the weekend, however the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday there was no evidence that this was the case.
San Francisco received its first coronavirus patients last Monday — a husband and wife from San Benito County whose condition had worsened and required escalated care. They were transferred from their home by special ambulance to UCSF Parnassus, where they have been undergoing treatment in a special infectious disease ward, and there has been no update on their condition.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Department of Public Health is warning residents not to use the virus as an excuse for discrimination and xenophobia — the Chronicle reported on an incident last week in which a Lyft driver was fired after saying he was refusing rides to passengers at SFO with Asian-sounding names.
"Our risk for the #novelCoronavirus depends on travel history, not on race, ethnicity or culture," the department tweeted. "We are the Bay Area and we stand up to xenophobia and racism on all fronts."
A total of 97 deaths from the virus were recorded in China on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 908 people. The disease has now already killed more people than the SARS epidemic did globally in 2002/2003. Meanwhile, England has seen some of its first cases — there are eight cases there, which have all been traced back to an outbreak of the virus in a skiing resort village in the French Alps.
The director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Sonia Angell, announced Friday that a state lab in Richmond would begin testing specimens for the Wuhan coronavirus — something which up until this week had only been getting done at the Centers for Disease Control lab in Atlanta. "This is one more way California is actively responding to novel coronavirus," Dr. Angell said. Being able to conduct such tests locally means that confirmed diagnoses can happen more quickly.
The Richmond lab is one of 16 in the state that will begin testing for the virus.
Inside @CAPublicHealth's Medical and Health Coordination Center, Dr. Sonia Angell, @CDPHDirector and State Health Officer, provides an update on how 16 labs in California will soon be able to test for novel #coronavirus. #nCoV2019 #novelcoronavirus pic.twitter.com/Gu9MH6KKiA— CA Public Health (@CAPublicHealth) February 8, 2020