Santa Clara County reports first death due to new coronavirus at El Camino Hospital | News | Palo Alto Online |

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Santa Clara County reports first death due to new coronavirus at El Camino Hospital

Woman who was county's third case possibly contracted disease in community

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A woman in her 60s died March 9 from COVID-19 at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, the first fatality due to the new coronavirus to occur in Santa Clara County. Voice file photo.

A woman in her 60s died Monday morning, March 9, from COVID-19 at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, the first fatality due to the new coronavirus to occur in Santa Clara County.

She had been hospitalized for several weeks, according to a statement from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

The woman, whose identity hasn't been released, was the first person the county confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus who didn't have a known history of international travel or contact with a person who had traveled or was infected. That suggests she contracted the disease in the community, the department said.

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office declined to provide information about the person who died, saying it did not have jurisdiction over the case, and referred media inquiries to the public health department. The public health department said it was not releasing information such as the woman's name, age or city of residence out of concern for her family's privacy.

The department offered condolences to the woman's family and friends in a statement issued just after noon on March 9.

"This is a tragic development. The Public Health Department is taking necessary, carefully considered steps to slow down the spread of the disease and to protect those at greatest risk," said Dr. Sara Cody, the county's top health officer. "We are facing a historic public health challenge and know this is a very difficult time. Our top priority continues to be protecting the health of our community."

The county continues to work closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and other partners as the situation continues to change.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Visit the county public health department's website for the latest updates and guidance on how to slow the spread of the virus.

Read our latest updates on local coronavirus cases here.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by the Almanac, Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Online here.

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Kate Bradshaw writes for the Mountain View Voice, the sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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Comments

19 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 9, 2020 at 2:21 pm

This is a tragic development., particularly for a younger senior.

Yet, the Weekly has been reporting very little about testing or the lack thereof. How many people in Palo Alto and Santa Clara County have been tested?

The Weekly should be in the forefront of demanding transparency on the testing issue.

Also, spring break at Stanford will start in about a week. How will Stanford keep track of where the students and faculty go and what will happen when these 20,000 people return from all over on March 29?

What is Stanford thinking about regarding hosting the NCAA women’s basketball tournament? That’s coming up in about 10 days?

Also how about a list of cancellations of events in the area?. The Chronicle is trying to do that on a regional basis, but a local listing would be very helpful.





9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Chris

You ask some good questions and I am entirely with you in how poorly the Weekly is reporting on this. Some very serious questions need to be asked, particularly of the schools as to how they can assure us that there is soap and paper towels in every restroom, etc.

As for your last comment, I tried to start a thread about local cancellations that we could all add to on an ongoing basis, things like kids sports, shows, concerts, theaters, church/faith services, etc. But it never got put up as a thread. I think it would be extremely helpful if some of these cancellations were listed somewhere easily accessible on an ongoing basis.


6 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 3:14 pm

My sincere sympathy to this woman, her friends and family.

> the first person the county confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus who didn't have a known history of international travel or contact with a person who had traveled or was infected.

Are there any theories as to how this woman was infected with this virus.

This woman's infections seems to imply there are stealth cases of this virus out there now that are infecting people?

Are there any estimates or models on how many others there are out there with this virus, and how infectious they are to others?

Last night on 20/20 I believe the fatality estimates of COVID-19 were put at 3.4%. That is very high, but also not a truly scientific number until the actual number of exposed is understood.

Do we understand the window of how long after someone is infected until they show symptoms, or how long before they show symptoms are they contagious, and when are we going to have a rational testing system in place FOR EVERYONE WITH ANY KIND OF COLD OR FLU SYMPTOMS?

It would also be nice to know what chronic health conditions play what kind of role in making this disease worse or fatal.


3 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 9, 2020 at 4:00 pm

The head of CDC just said that Santa Clara County is one of 4 areas that are being investigated heavily.


7 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 4:15 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Midtown Local
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2020 at 4:46 pm

It would be helpful to know whether the woman who died had prior health conditions. Did the covid-19 exacerbate something she already had, or did it just kill a healthy 60-something?


1 person likes this
Posted by Midtown Local
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2020 at 4:51 pm

To Curious: I really hope it has to do with the number of cases locally and the community's travel patterns, rather than specifically anyone's ethnic background.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 4:57 pm

"Do we understand the window of how long after someone is infected until they show symptoms, or how long before they show symptoms are they contagious,"

Most people who catch Covid-19—the disease caused by the novel coronavirus—start showing symptoms roughly five days after infection, disease analysts at Johns Hopkins University said on Monday, in the largest such study of known cases world-wide.

Their findings firm up estimates of the virus’s incubation period before signs of fever, coughing and respiratory distress appear, offering support for current public-health control measures that recommend a 14-day monitoring and quarantine period for people who have been exposed to infection. Some state health agencies are recommending people isolate themselves for that period after returning from any international travel.

“We have a lot of confidence that the incubation period is around five days,” said Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health who led the team that analyzed the progression of the disease in 181 cases.

“Some people will have really short incubation periods and some people will have really long ones,” he said. “The goal is catching most cases that are infected and have symptoms developed before the deadline.”


4 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 9, 2020 at 5:07 pm

And somehow Santa Clara university hasn’t taken any preventative measures when Santa Clara county has the third highest amount of cases out of every county in the US.


14 people like this
Posted by lola42
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 9, 2020 at 5:44 pm

They only test people in critical condition. My entire family was affected by a virus and we checked all the checkboxes but neither Kaiser nor Stanford were interested in seeing us or testing us since we had not traveled out of the country. The virus is clearly circulating in the community and has been for weeks. We'll never know if we got it or something else.


5 people like this
Posted by Chinese supply chain
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 9, 2020 at 6:26 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 9, 2020 at 6:35 pm

I don't think it's fair to beat up on the Weekly for its level of reporting on the Wuhan virus. This is a regional, national, and worldwide issue. Larger news outlets should be taking the lead on answering those questions.

The Weekly shines in reporting on local Palo Alto issues, not global pandemics.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Here are some good, frequently updated news sources:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:21 pm

I am so sorry about this, but I have a concern.
There is a big event with thousands of ppl at the Santa Clara convention center this Saturday Sunday that brings a big risk to our city with thousands ppl congregating, because of coronavirus. It’s a leadership/entrepreneurship event with people coming in from all over the country. I called the convention center but they had no comment. I called the neighboring hotels and marriott and Hyatt both say they cannot do anything.

How is this allowed to happen? 5-7 thousand ppl in close proximity for 2 days is a health risk to our city. How can we stop things like this...Any ideas? Can people call the hotels and force them to cancel or even the convention center?

Sally


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:24 pm

"How is this allowed to happen? 5-7 thousand ppl in close proximity for 2 days is a health risk to our city."

It is simply a lack of leadership and courage.

Our elected officials need to step up, consider input from medical experts and then ACT.


1 person likes this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:35 pm

Sally,

Sharks and Warriors play games several times a week with 15,000 or so people in attendance.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:38 pm

"Sharks and Warriors play games several times a week with 15,000 or so people in attendance."

I predict that those populations will turn out to have a higher incidence of Covid-19. Time will tell.

PS. There is now feasible way to do contact tracing for 15,000 people.


7 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2020 at 8:20 pm

The media should be reporting, as long as it isn't overdone. Going overboard spreads fear and paranoia.

As far as large gatherings, SF, Dublin (Ireland) Dublin, CA, Boston, etc. cancelled their St. Patrick's Day parades - but Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago didn't. I'm glad not everyone is overprotective, and I'm sorry this lady lost her life. Where do you draw the line on large gatherings? After all, we still have to go to work, and where I work is a very large gathering, and my profession doesn't work from home.

Any gathering is a health risk, but we still have to work, grocery shop, get gas, etc. Living life in fear will just it worse for everyone. Stay calm, wash your hands, stay home if your sick and avoid contact with sick people.


4 people like this
Posted by PinkDolphin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 8:55 pm

In response to "John" above, Santa Clara University announced today: "Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10th, we will suspend face-to-face meetings of classes and move to a virtual format until Monday, April 13th." See Web Link for details.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2020 at 9:01 pm

One thing that is not being reported (among others) is how many people have been tested in the County. Other countries are reporting the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of tested who were negative.

Looking at the number of cases v the number of those tested, there is a high number of people tested who are negative.

This type of information shows that (a) not everyone who is sick has the virus and (b) that people who have the virus are recovering. This information is important to quell fears.


9 people like this
Posted by Joe B
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2020 at 10:48 pm

I think it’s important for reporting to include the health of anyone who died prior to becoming infected. I feel like this writer is guilty of omission for sensationalism like pretty much every news organization right now. It’s reckless. Like any other flu like virus this will not be contained and life must go on. The CDC reported that from October 2019 to February 2020 there have been approximately 12,000 deaths from the flu. Any story should include this information and a breakdown of age and health of the deceased. Then the panic might be greatly reduced.


3 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 9, 2020 at 10:53 pm

+1 to Midtown Local wish the county would share more stats. Breakdown of age groups and cities where the cases are. They used to provide more info and now it's just XX number and that it is expected. When they have a mitigation to call out they do. So in the case of this death, when they haven't it is not very reassuring.

lola42 - your experience is so disheartening. I wish they had aggressively tested by now without worrying about numbers like S Korea or even NY which is way more proactive. At least we'd all better understand the magnitude of the problem and be better prepared.

Resident - my guess is that the number tested is not that high.


3 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 9, 2020 at 11:08 pm

Sally can rest somewhat easier now that large events have been shut down.

What some of the more nonchalant posters are not considering is that you may not get very sick but you could unknowingly kill someone over 60. It seems as if you think a few stats will allow you to continue your previous lifestyle. We can all agree that the US is woefully behind in testing and that that shortfall will make it even more difficult to get this situation under control.


Like this comment
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 9, 2020 at 11:44 pm

chris, if you were referring to my post, the reason I ask for stats is that is suspect it’s more than just the 60+ year olds who are falling sick. In any case, data and transparency is always better than confusion and distrust caused by lack of data.


6 people like this
Posted by C.B.
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2020 at 1:49 am

It’s a little concerning and disheartening to see that people are still spouting the number of flu deaths like that proves something. News flash: The mortality rate of this virus is 3%. The mortality rate of the flu is 0.1/%. So I hope people will stop going around saying that it’s less of a big deal than flu. It’s misinformation,


3 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 10, 2020 at 5:12 am

People who are under 60 can get sick but people over 60 and people with serious medical conditions have to be the first priority because they are at risk of dying.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe B
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2020 at 5:26 am

CB, the numbers are not accurate yet but leaning in a less scary direction. Only the sickest are showing up and 3 percent of those sadly have died. In what might be the article that you sourced it goes on to say the South Korea has 7500 confirmed cases and 54 deaths. That is not as low on par with the flu when you consider that there’s no vaccine yet. We should be concerned because there is no vaccine but we should not panic. We should focus on protecting seniors and folks with pre-existing health issues. Of course this is just my opinion.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe B
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2020 at 5:31 am

*sorry about the typos. *that. *not as low as but...


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 10, 2020 at 8:28 am

Joe - The South Korea data cuts both ways. They have a very high prevalence of 146.5 cases per million while the US's rate is because of poor testing just 2.2 cases per million. I suspect that the US rate will go way up hence many more total deaths.

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by COVID-19 = Improved Traffic Conditions
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2020 at 9:19 am

The positive of the COVID-19 outbreak...with all of the Silicon Valley companies sequestering their employees at home, commute traffic has been reduced significantly!


4 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 10, 2020 at 12:11 pm

Gavin Newsom was on TV and said California officials were monitoring over 10,000 people in California for Covid 19 (that's a big number!). Where did that number come from? I haven't seen that number reported anywhere else. Palo Alto Online please track down and report on where that number came from. The numbers tracked worldwide are "Covid 19 cases" and "Covid 19 deaths" and the entire USA's numbers don't come close to the number Newsom's reported. If California doctors aren't allowed to test people unless they have serious symptoms, what 10,000+ people are they "monitoring" and how do they know to monitor them if they were never tested?


Like this comment
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2020 at 5:40 pm

> In any case, data and transparency is always better than confusion and distrust caused by lack of data.

My guess is that, unfortunately, this information is not available because of privacy issues. I find the SCC.gov web sites and twitter feed practically useless compared to PAO and other news sources because the information you and I want is not reported. Myself, I don't find the *number* of cases as important as the *locations* where they occurred. And SCC is a pretty darn large area -- it's a big difference to me if there's a victim in my neighborhood of Palo Alto, versus someone in Gilroy.

Anyway, I've been noticing more "community" victims, and Bay Area residents are *still* traveling, attending large public events, and, overall, ignoring this epidemic. PAO is at least telling us what city the victim is in, so that's enough to get started with YOYO.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 10, 2020 at 5:43 pm

"PAO is at least telling us what city the victim is in, so that's enough to get started with YOYO."


YOYO will only happen IF we as citizens turn our backs on our neighbors. My neighborhood association has established the following policy:

"Park Forest II Homeowners Association
BOARD MEETING MINUTES, March 3rd 2020

Excerpt:


COVID-19.
If any of our members find that they have been exposed to Covid 19 and need to self quarantine in your home please advise (the HOA President). Our entire community will then organize to take care of your shopping needs and to provide non-medical support. "


Like this comment
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2020 at 5:50 pm

> “The goal is catching most cases that are infected and have symptoms developed before the deadline.”

Emphasis on *most*. :/

IIRC, the 14-day quarantine was based on MERS (?) a previous virus. CoVid can take as long as 24-27 days to show symptoms: "Number one, a Yale study conducted by several Chinese doctors and scientists of the 2019 novel coronavirus clearly states that the virus has a 3- to 24-day incubation period. Currently, the quarantine time has been set at 14 days, so according to this study, people who could have been exposed to the virus and completed the 14-day quarantine and were released, could possibly still be infected for another 10 days while showing no symptoms, but is still being contagious, possibly infecting others. Second, it appears that it is possible to contract the virus a second time, with even more dangerous results than the first time.

Web Link

Also, another PAO poster and others I've read said that, just because you have CoVid symptoms, you aren't tested for CoVid. Also, the CDC issued faulty kits instead of using ones used in China. Dunno to what extent the truth is, but I'm sure it amounts to more "community" spreading. YOYO.

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2020 at 5:59 pm

> YOYO will only happen IF we as citizens turn our backs on our neighbors.

Sorry for a third post, but that's exactly what's going on. I'm regularly reading articles of people who break self-quarantine, attend large public gatherings, think CoVid is no worse than the flu, or are otherwise not taking this epidemic seriously. I'm also reading articles showing how the CDC is not containing the virus. Sure, *you* and I may be taking precautions that help "our neighbors", but, with more "community" victims, I'm not convinced that "our neighbors" are helping us or themselves.


Like this comment
Posted by Jill Ledet
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:34 pm

Isn't this the woman who was shown had self quarantined at her home with the long pretty white hair? If this is the case this is heartbreaking, she looked healthy. I'm so sorry for what her family is going through, very scary stuff here.


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