Novel Coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control.
Novel Coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control.

Information provided by San Benito County Public Health Services. Updated at 8:30 p.m. with additional information from Feb. 2 press conference.

The San Benito resident that was infected with the Coronavirus was in Wuhan, China and surrounding areas between Jan. 18 and Jan. 24, San Benito Health Officer Dr. Martin Fenstersheib said at a Feb. 2 press conference.

The resident developed a low grade fever and cough the following day and self isolated with his wife at their home. The wife developed symptoms five days following the husband’s return.

Though the couple are not hospitalized, Fensterheib said Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital is equipped to provide services.

Two cases of 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been confirmed in San Benito County, according to a recent press release. The confirmed cases are related; husband and wife, and both are 57 years of age. The husband recently traveled from Wuhan, China, but the wife did not. Therefore, there has been person-to-person transmission. Both patients have not left their home since returning from China.

San Benito County Public Health Services provided guidance for home isolation and is closely monitoring their medical condition. Currently, both patients are not hospitalized. San Benito County Public Health Services is in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

San Benito County Public Health Services is following all recommended guidelines. Some key points include:

  • If you have not been to China, or been in close contact with someone who has been to China and is sick, your risk is very low.
  • CDC guidance indicates that people who have casual contact with a case (in the same grocery store or movie theater) are at minimal risk of developing infection.
  • If you have recently been to China and feel sick, please stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Contact your doctor’s office or emergency room and tell them about your recent travels and symptoms.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands)when coughing or sneezing.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely to protect the health of San Benito County residents and limit the spread of this virus,” said San Benito County Health Officer Dr. Martin Fenstersheib. “We are working closely with Bay Area health officials, local health care providers and community partners.”

“While the virus is considered a serious public health threat, based on current information, the risk to the general public in California and locally in San Benito County continues to be low at this time,” said Fenstersheib.

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV

Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including fever, cough, congestion, and/or shortness of breath. Older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.

Tips to Protect Yourself and Others

No additional precautions are recommended at this time beyond the simple daily precautions that everyone should always take, such as:

  1. Washing hands with liquid soap and water, and rubbing for at least 20 seconds;
  2. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing; and
  3. Staying home if you are sick.

Since flu activity will continue to remain high during this flu season, and symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu, public health services also recommends getting a flu shot to protect yourself and others from the flu.

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and the information contained in this health alert may change quickly. SBC Public Health Services will provide updated information as it becomes available.

More information is available at or by calling 800-CDC-INFO | (800-232-4636) | TTY: (888) 232-6348. You can also contact San Benito County Public Health Services at (831) 637-5367 or go to the website at