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Update of COVID-19 Numbers in Imperial County for the Morning of March 23

The county was holding at six positive cases of COVID-19, none of which has been determined by the county Department of Public Health Services to be the result of “community spread” yet according to health officials.

A fifth and sixth pair of positive COVID-19 patients, a husband and wife who acquired the virus when they were exposed to a positive patient while traveling outside the United States, were at home in isolation, the Public Health Department stated in a March 21 press release.

On March 22, the Central Union High School District confirmed through a social media posting that one of the newly diagnosed COVID patients was an employee at Southwest High School who had last worked on the campus March 19. The employee, “who is not a classroom teacher and only has limited interaction with students,” first experienced symptoms on March 20 and did not report to work that day, according to the district’s post.

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Reportedly, other Southwest employees who might have come in contact with the COVID-positive patient were informed March 21 that they needed to be in isolation for 14 days due to that exposure.

Neither county Public Health nor the Central Union district were releasing further information about the employee or their spouse.

As of 8:41 p.m. March 21, some 11 patients were awaiting test results from public health laboratories and some 36 tests had so far come back negative for the virus. The negative tests were coming from a combination of public health labs and private labs.

On March 20, a fourth positive COVID case was announced by El Centro Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Office Adolphe Edward, who during a morning Facebook Live press conference stated the case was a “community-acquired” case.

Later that evening, county Public Health Department officials issued a clarification that no case in Imperial County had yet to be determined to be a case of “community spread,” or a case of the virus being contracted between people while in Imperial County.

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The department clarified that the state defines three classifications of exposure history to COVID: “Travel-related,” “community-acquired” and “person-to-person.” At the time of the clarification, when only four cases had been confirmed, three were considered “community-acquired,” meaning they were contracted by exposure within “any area in the United States,” and the fourth was “person-to-person,” or the newly diagnosed case having caught it from another COVID-positive patient.

“Determination of whether a case was acquired in Imperial County will be based on the case investigation,” Public Health stated in the March 20 clarification.

Other COVID-Related News

The Imperial County Public Health Department announced that the hours and days of operation for its COVID-19 Information Line for Imperial County residents had been extended to seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The number is 442-265-6700. For general questions or concerns about COVID-19 please call the local information line.