Health emergency declared in Riverside County after first local coronavirus case reported

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Doctor with stethoscope
Valley News - Health

Health authorities officially declared a local health emergency in Riverside County Sunday, citing the announcement of the first locally-acquired case of novel coronavirus in the county.

Officials had reported late Saturday that an unidentified patient was being treated for the virus, also known as COVID-19, at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.

Riverside County Public Health Officer Cameron Kaiser said the emergency declaration “will support the county’s planning and response efforts and is a signal to the community that the disease has been introduced to the area.”

The Rancho Mirage patient was in isolation and staff were taking appropriate precautions, according to media reports.

Riverside County officially has two cases of novel coronavirus — a former cruise ship passenger who is a Riverside County resident was diagnosed with the virus and is recovering at a Northern California hospital, according to health officials.

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District also announced that Murrieta Valley High School would be closed Monday, March 9, as an employee is being tested for coronavirus. The school will be disinfected, and 71 students who may have had contact with the staff member have been told to self-quarantine.

It has not been confirmed whether the employee actually has the virus.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.