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HBFD Novel Coronavirus Update 2

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This press release serves as an update with most current information in regard to COVID-19. The information is compiled from sources to include the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA).

The information is current as of Sunday, March 8, 2020. As new information becomes available, additional updates will be disseminated.

On February 26, 2020, the Orange County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency and County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick declared a local health emergency as part of broader preparedness efforts related to novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

The declaration of a local health emergency will help ensure that the County of Orange has the ability to respond to a potential outbreak. It is important to understand what these actions do not mean:

  • Orange County, CA does not have a COVID-19 Outbreak at this time.
  • The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) is not recommending changes to routine, everyday activities.
  • The HCA is not recommending cancelling or avoiding social outings or public events.

The HCA is working with federal, state, and local partners including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and health care providers on preparedness efforts and to guide appropriate care for people who may be at risk for illness associated with COVID-19 or who have tested positive.

The Huntington Beach Fire Department has been in continuous communication with the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) to ensure that first responders are educated in the appropriate response and are adhering to the current best practice in regard to patient screening, personal protective requirements and reporting.

The following best practices have been instituted to ensure the safety of first responders and the community:

  • Metro Net Fire Dispatch is currently pre-screening all calls for the following:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Respiratory symptoms/illness
    • Travel to areas with widespread sustained transmission within the last two weeks (China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea)
    • Close contact with Persons Under Investigation (PUI)
  • Fire Department personnel have been educated on the increased use of personal protective equipment.
  • Fire Department personnel have been educated on the updated screening process/decision making algorithm and close contact/exposure process approved by the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA).
  • All potential at risk patients are being assigned a Fire Department Case Manager to ensure appropriate follow-up and documentation.

The California Department of Public Health has published the following recommendations to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Virus:

  • Washing hands with soap and water.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Following guidance from public health officials.
  • Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) has stated that the current risk of infection to the public in Orange County is believed to be low. There are no recommendations at this time to cancel business plans or social events.

The California Department of Public Health has made the following recommendations for schools, colleges and large public events to prepare and protect citizens from COVID-19.

Guidance for Schools
Guidance for Colleges & Universities
Guidance for Large Events

For more information please visit the following links:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – COVID-19
Orange County Health Care Agency – COVID-19
California Department of Public Health – COVID-19

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