Over the last few days, Santa Cruz County officials confirmed that two community members have tested positive for COVID-19.
The first case was announced Saturday. The patient had previously travelled on a Grand Princess cruise ship from San Francisco to Mexico. The trip occurred from February 11th to the 21st.
During a press conference Monday, Dr. David Ghilarducci, the county’s deputy health officer, announced the second case.
“The patient previously traveled to Seattle,” Dr. Ghilarducci said.
Washington state has become a hotspot for the virus.
“Public health investigators determined that the individual likely contracted the virus there before returning home on a commercial flight,” Ghilarducci added.
Santa Cruz County public health officials are currently conducting an investigation to identify potential exposure to others, and are notifying contacts.
Officials say the newest case confirms COVID-19 is present in the Santa Cruz County community. They believe it is not an isolated case.
“We won't be surprised if we have more cases. We expect that this is just the beginning and we'll have more cases,” said Mimi Hall, director of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency.
At this stage, Hall said their ultimate goal is to slow the disease's trajectory.
“And we know that the disease needs people to spread. So if we lessen the amount of time people spend amongst each other and the number of people together at one time, what we can do is slow the disease curve in our community,” Hall said.
She says if more people meet the requirements for testing defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the county will be able to accommodate those cases.