Three more cases of COVID-19, the potentially deadly disease carried by coronavirus, have been confirmed by the Calaveras County health officer, bringing the number of cases in Calaveras to eight.
The three new cases were cruise ship passengers, and the county health officer refers to them as repatriated cases.
Calaveras County has reported no deaths due to COVID-19. As of Thursday afternoon, there were still two confirmed cases and zero deaths related to coronavirus in Tuolumne County.
The three new cases announced Thursday by Calaveras County are linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship that departed San Francisco in February, Dr. Dean Kelaita, the Calaveras County health officer, said in a statement.
Since February, more than 700 of the 3,711 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 12 people who were on the Diamond Princess had died through March 28, according to English and Japanese language news accounts.
The three cases include two older women and one older man from Copperopolis, Kelaita said. They were part of a state investigation in March that stemmed from the second voyage of the Diamond Princess, which departed San Francisco on Feb. 21 with a planned return on March 7.
Case management for the three Calaveras individuals was transferred from the state of California to Calaveras Public Health this week, according to Kelaita. Two of the people remained outside Calaveras County for the duration of their isolation.
The third case is an older woman who was only mildly symptomatic. Despite the lack of symptoms, a COVID-19 test was conducted by state public health officials, while she was still under quarantine outside Calaveras County. That test came back positive for COVID-19.
“She has been on self-isolation since her return to our community,” Kelaita said. “We are learning that people can be infectious without having typical symptoms of COVID-19
Because asymptomatic people can carry and have COVID-19 and infect others, it’s vital for people to stay home as much as possible, maintain physical distancing, and use a cloth face covering when in public for essential activities, Kelaita said.
Calaveras Public Health staff plan to continue to investigate whether any people may have had close personal contact with the asymptomatic positive woman, including friends or family members, to assess and monitor them for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 illness.
Close personal contacts identified during the Calaveras County contact tracing investigation will be placed under strict quarantine.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19 in California and more than 540 deaths statewide to the viral disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine coronavirus resource center. Nationwide, there were more than 460,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 16,390 deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S.
Contact Guy McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.