First Two San Francisco Cases of Coronavirus Detected

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San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax speaks at a press conference at City Hall about the first two confirmed novel coronavirus cases in San Francisco on Thursday, Mar. 5, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

The first two cases of novel coronavirus infection have been detected in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed announced at a press conference Thursday.

The two patients are being treated in isolation at separate hospitals in San Francisco, and the cases appear unrelated.

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the city's Department of Public Health, identified one patient as a man in his 90s with underlying health problems. The patient is in serious condition. The second patient, a woman in her 40s, is listed in fair condition.

Colfax said neither patient had a recent travel history or contact with a person known to be infected with the virus, so they are likely cases of community exposure.

"All appropriate precautions for the patients, visitors and hospital staff are being taken," Colfax said.


The health department, Colfax says, is investigating the patients' recent whereabouts and the people they've been in contact with in order to "help slow the spread of the virus in the community."

See the full press conference here.

No Handshaking

Colfax recommended against anyone shaking hands.

"Ensure that when you greet people, you can do an elbow bump. Do not shake hands at this time. Public health data show that that reduces the risk of transmission.”

Other recommendations: Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.  "Cheap soap is just as effective as expensive soap," he said. If you don't have soap, use hand sanitizer.

If you're sick, stay home from work or school.