2 coronavirus cases diagnosed in SF; Lowell High closes after student exposed to patient

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Lowell High School.

Lowell High School. | Photo: Lowell High School/Facebook

The first two San Francisco-based cases of COVID-19 — which has claimed the lives of 12 U.S. victims — were announced today by Mayor London Breed, who said that the two patients are “contained" in separate San Francisco hospitals. One is a man in his 90s; the other, a woman in her 40s.

Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said at a news conference that the two new cases were "indicative of community transmission," with no known sources as of yet.

Meanwhile, Lowell High School (1101 Eucalyptus Dr.) is set to close for at least a day and a half, after school officials learned that a family member of a student is being treated for the novel coronavirus.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the [SFUSD] has decided to close Lowell High School for the remainder of today and Friday 3/6 to conduct a deep-cleaning,” reads a statement on Lowell High’s website.

Calls to the school were not answered. Laura Dudnick, spokesperson for the San Francisco Unified School District, declined to answer further questions, directing a reporter to a release on the SFUSD website that said the school would remain closed for the “time being.”

In the release, the SFUSD said that the school has “assessed” the student, and that there was no confirmation they had COVID-19.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health said it has no plans to close other schools right now, noting that the Centers For Disease Control has not recommended such an action.

“If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at a school, the Department of Public Health will work with the school and the district to determine the best measures, including potential school closure,” the SFDPH said in a statement.

The new COVID-19 patients are technically San Francisco's third and fourth; a husband and wife from San Benito County, both 57, had previously been transported to UCSF for COVID-19 treatment. Elsewhere in the Bay Area, 20 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Santa Clara County as of yesterday.

“I want to be clear that we have been planning this for weeks, and so we are prepared as a city,” Breed said during a news conference at City Hall.

The SFDPH again reminded locals of ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;

  • Cover your cough or sneeze;

  • Stay home if you are sick;

  • Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to COVID-19;

  • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump or wave;

  • If you have recently returned from a country with ongoing COVID-19 infections, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.

For those who are not ill, officials also do not recommend wearing masks for prevention at this time. Locals can visit the SFDPH and SF emergency preparedness websites for guidance and updates on the situation.

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