Merced County jail suspends visitation to prevent coronavirus outbreak

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Central Valley authorities are taking action as state health officials confirm a second case of novel coronavirus from someone who didn't travel internationally.

The confirmed case comes out of the Bay Area, while another confirmed case with unknown origin was also confirmed in Oregon.

State health officials are now sending out more test kits to local health labs to find infected patients as soon as possible.

RELATED: Coronavirus Outbreak: Additional COVID-19 cases confirmed in Solano and Santa Clara counties, officials say

While state officials are trying to stop the spread, the Merced County Sheriff's office is taking matters into their own hands by temporarily stopping visitation to their main jail, as well at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility to prevent an outbreak.

"It doesn't mean that anyone is infected. This is just our precaution that nobody does get infected due to it being a confined facility. If something like that were to break out that could be devastating to both facilities," said Daryl Allen of the Merced County Sheriff's Office.

State Public Health officials also announced new CDC test kits used to detect Coronavirus which will be sent to public health labs, including one in Tulare

"We believe this increased testing will have a significant impact to quickly identify and contain those individuals with the disease," said Dr. Charity Dean, Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health.

Health officials are asking folks who think they may have been exposed to do their part, and look out for common symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Merced city school officials say there are at least nine people being voluntarily monitored after returning from China. However, there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the Central Valley.
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