LIVERMORE, CA — The City of Livermore declared a local emergency and canceled non-essential city events Friday due to concerns about the new coronavirus.
The announcement came after Alameda County detected community spread, meaning a patient is unsure of how they were infected.
All Livermore City Council and Advisory Body meetings will be cancelled through April 17. All non-essential events with more than 25 attendees will be cancelled through May 20, the city said in a statement.
The local emergency will be ratified at a special city council meeting March 15.
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City facilities remain open.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday to provide additional resources, prevent price gouging and help the state better prepare for the virus’s spread.
The emergency declaration followed the first known coronavirus-related death in California — an elderly Placer County resident who was exposed to the virus on a Grand Princess cruise Feb. 11-21 from San Francisco to Mexico and back.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that include the common cold as well as much more serious diseases. The strain that emerged in China in late 2019, now called COVID-19, is related to others that have caused serious outbreaks in recent years, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was on Jan. 21. The disease, which apparently originated in animals, is now transferring from person to person, although the mechanism is not yet fully understood. Its symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath, and many patients develop pneumonia. There is as yet no vaccine against COVID-19 it and no antiviral treatment.
According to the CDC, the best way of preventing the disease is to avoid close contact with people who are sick, to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and to use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
To avoid spreading any respiratory illness, the CDC recommends staying at home when you are sick, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue in the trash, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Read more about the coronavirus outbreak here on the CDC website.