Madera County reports first Valley death connected to COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Madera County Health Department has reported the Central Valley's first death of a person with COVID-19 as the county's case total rose to 10 on Thursday.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Tracking Central California COVID-19 cases

The Madera County Sheriff's Office identified the man as 68-year-old Madera resident Jose Luis Sanchez Barriga, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 23 from what is believed to be a person-to-person transmission.

MCSO also released his cause of death, listing acute cardio pulmonary arrest, bilateral pneumonia, and COVID-19. Renal failure was also listed as a significant condition.

Madera County has now had a total of 10 cases, including one death and one recovery. The three latest cases are person-to-person contacts of a case that was confirmed in the county on March 19.

Health officials say the victim was one of more than a hundred people identified during their contact investigation from the cases confirmed last week, and deputies with the sheriff's office are making their rounds to make sure those people are staying in their homes.

"Last week we had an event where a number of people attended, a number of people were coming back positive from there, we interviewed 150 to 200... and got them quarantined," said Jay Varney, director of Madera County Office of Emergency Services.

Health officials say they're working to ramp up testing, but that remains a challenge.

Of the county's other cases, one has fully recovered, and another is hospitalized while the rest are quarantined to their homes.

Public health is monitoring both the confirmed cases and the folks they believe may have come into contact with carefully to contain the spread and prevent a surge in patients.

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