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Napa County reports first and second confirmed cases of coronavirus infection

Napa County reports first and second confirmed cases of coronavirus infection

From the Complete coronavirus coverage from the Napa Valley Register, St. Helena Star, and The Weekly Calistogan series

Napa County announced its first two confirmed cases on Sunday of residents contracting the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, which has killed thousands and infected hundreds of thousands worldwide.

The county confirmed the first case in a news release at about 11 a.m., saying a person in the city of Napa had tested positive for COVID-19. A second statement at 5 p.m. announced a positive test for a resident of St. Helena. Both patients were self-isolating as of early Sunday evening, according to county officials.

Napa County declined to release details such as the patients’ ages and any underlying medical problems, but said there is no known connection between the two cases.

“Due to medical privacy requirements and to protect identity, further information about this case will not be released at this time,” the county said.

“The General Public should continue to comply with the shelter-at-home order and practice social distancing of at least 6 feet when out seeking essential services or getting fresh air or exercise,” Deputy County Executive Molly Rattigan said in a statement earlier Sunday, adding that the county issued legal orders for the patients to isolate themselves and for their close contacts to self-quarantine.

During a live Facebook videoconference Sunday afternoon, Rattigan urged Napa County residents to closely follow the shelter-at-home order.

“Those things should be canceled: play dates, visits with friends and neighbors,” she said. “Use technology as much as you can to stay in contact with your friends and family. Really try to limit your close interactions to those who are in your immediate household.”

Napa became the last of the nine Bay Area counties to report confirmed cases of COVID-19, even as the number of infections in the region quickly mounted into the hundreds. A wave of county stay-home orders began early last week, restricting people only to essential activities like grocery shopping, and a state-wide order took effect Friday.

Test kits have been in short supply across the nation, and the county has been limiting testing to people based on risk to the community, officials say.

County spokesperson Noel Brinkerhoff said drive-through testing launched last week and will continue this week.

“We have tested 92 patients in Napa County,” he told the Register Sunday afternoon. “Testing requires a doctor’s order and a screening by public health to prioritize testing supplies and risk factors like underlying conditions, living in congregate facilities, contacts through employment, etc. Patients are scheduled for drive through testing by Public Health if their provider doesn’t test directly. We have increased our testing materials and are expecting testing to continue to increase.”

Napa County will host daily online briefings about the coronavirus situation at its Facebook page at 3 p.m. in English and 5 p.m. in Spanish.

You can reach Howard Yune at 707-256-2214 or

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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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