On Sunday, March 8, a representative for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) working with the Santa Clara County Health Department contacted the Gilroy Fire Department to inform them that a patient, previously identified as testing positive for COVID-19, was confirmed as testing NEGATIVE for the disease.
In light of the negative test result, the Gilroy fire crew that had been placed under medical surveillance following the possible exposure to this patient was been released from surveillance, according to a city spokesperson.
“The City of Gilroy continues to work closely with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health, the Santa Clara County EMS Agency, and the CDC as part of standard protocol to monitor and respond to this ongoing and dynamic situation,” the city said in a statement March 8.
A Gilroy resident had tested positive for COVID-19, Interim Fire Chief Mark Bisbee announced March 7, in what would have been the first known case of the virus in the city.
The male resident, who was identified as being in his 50s, was initially thought to have pneumonia, but was transferred to Kaiser Permanente in San Jose where he tested positive for COVID-19.
Mayor Roland Velasco shared Bisbee’s announcement during his monthly Coffee and Conversation event in the city council chambers.
County health officials did not confirmed the city where the patient resides.
The Friday announcement ignited a firestorm on social media, as Gilroy residents struggled to deal with the continued uncertainty surrounding a spreading virus that is hitting California especially hard.
In his speech, Velasco urged residents to practice safe hygiene by staying home if they feel ill, washing their hands and covering their coughs.
“Let’s be smart about this, let’s not panic,” Velasco said, adding that people are more in danger of catching the common flu than COVID-19. “We have to be reasonable, we have to be respectful.”
On March 6, health officials announced four more cases of the virus in Santa Clara County, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 24. By March 8, the statewide total grew to 114, including the death of one man in Placer County.
County health officials on March 5 recommended the cancellation of large-scale events to prevent the spread of the virus.
Santa Clara County Library District, including the Gilroy and Morgan Hill libraries, announced March 6 it has suspended all public programs and meetings at the library through the end of the month.
Meeting room bookings have also been cancelled, supervising librarian Kelly B. Young wrote in an email to residents.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience and will keep you posted with updates as to when we can resume programs and events,” Young wrote.
Velasco said city officials would be meeting on Monday to determine if any city-sponsored events will be canceled.
The city has scheduled a Family Fun Day to celebrate Gilroy 150th anniversary of its incorporation on March 14 at the Wheeler Center.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Santa Clara County, visit the county’s website at www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/home.aspx.