Video: Marin's Public Health Officer Announces He Has COVID-19

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Marin County's top health officer is now one of the county's 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Matt Willis, Marin’s public health officer, has been in charge of the county response to the spread of the new coronavirus.

On Sunday night, he released a video announcing that he'd acquired the disease, and he included a direct appeal to the public.

"Here's what you can do: Stay in place," he said.


Willis says he began feeling “feverish with a worsening cough” last Friday. He recorded the message from his home a few hours after his test results were confirmed.

“I’m here on home quarantine as Marin’s 39th confirmed case,” he said. “My symptoms have actually improved somewhat since Friday, although I still have a cough. I don’t have any more fevers.”

Willis says he doesn't know the origin of his exposure, but it could be from the community or from his interactions with frontline health workers and first responders.

“Either way is a clear sign of what we've been saying all along," he said. "I didn't necessarily think that I'd be such an early example of the fact that this is in our community." He added that people need to stay at home and slow the spread of the coronavirus by limiting social contact.

He said he’s “frustrated to be sidelined at this important time, but I’m part of a very large and excellent team."

Lisa Santora, the county’s deputy health officer, will be leading the county’s effort to slow the spread of the disease until Willis has recovered.

“According to the CDC, after three days without symptoms, I'm hoping that time comes soon after that I should be more immune and can be more confident to stay active as our local incidents increases, which we know it will,” he said. “So that's a small silver lining. In the meantime, I'll be quarantined for my wife and three kids here at home.”

Marin County issued calls for residents to adhere to the stay-at-home orders after its parks saw a huge number of visitors over the weekend.