February 27, 2020

Rep. Mike Levin Responds to Coronavirus Concerns and Local Public Health Emergency Declarations

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin responded to the public health emergency declarations in San Diego County and Orange County over COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus disease.

“According to public health agencies, there is currently believed to be little immediate risk of coronavirus infection for residents in San Diego and Orange Counties, but I applaud local officials for taking proactive steps to keep residents informed and safe,” said Rep. Levin. “It is critically important that local, state, and federal agencies have the resources they need to effectively combat the coronavirus. While the President’s response to this epidemic has largely been insufficient and chaotic, Congress is prepared to move forward with a robust emergency funding package that meets the scale of this crisis. In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should end overly restrictive criteria requirements for testing, which appeared to delay testing for a patient in California.

“It is important that everyone follow recommendations from the CDC, including basic steps such as frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with individuals who are sick. As always, my office is prepared to assist constituents with any questions, concerns, or issues they may have involving federal agencies, and we will continue to share information as it becomes available.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Levin and his colleagues sent a letter calling on the CDC to distribute rapid diagnostic tests for the coronavirus as quickly as possible, and to prioritize states with confirmed cases of the virus to receive the first available test kits. Levin and his colleagues also wrote to the CDC asking for a briefing on the coronavirus, and to the Orange County Health Care Agency to request information on how Congress can best support their efforts to prevent the virus’s spread.

Key Facts and Resources:

San Diego County:

  • As of February 21, that most recent date that data is available, San Diego County has two confirmed cases of coronavirus, both of which are quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
  • For information about how San Diego County monitor potential coronavirus cases, click here.
  • San Diego County residents should report suspected cases of coronavirus by telephone to the San Diego County Epidemiology Unit using (619) 692-8499 during business hours or (858)-565-5255 after hours, on weekends, and holidays. For more information on San Diego County’s response to the coronavirus, click here.

Orange County:

  • According to Orange County, there was one confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the county and that person has recovered.
  • No evidence that person-to-person transmission has occurred in Orange County.
  • Risk of infection to public in Orange County is believed to be low.
  • For more information, Orange County residents should visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus or call the OC Health Care Agency’s Health Referral Line from Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1 (800) 564- 8448.

Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.