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Local EMS respond to man with flu symptoms who had returned from China 

Possible coronavirus paso robles

EMS responding Monday morning to an urgent care center at 500 1st Street in Paso Robles. Photo by Alex Cole.

Paso Robles Emergency Services responded to a local urgent care facility Monday morning after a 68-year-old male, who had recently traveled to China, came in sick with a cough. The call for EMS came at about 11:10 a.m. at 500 1st Street, Paso Robles. At the scene, EMS staff wore masks and protective gear.

San Luis Obispo County Health Agency official Jennifer Shay said, “We are aware of this… and we have since talked with the patient. Turns out that the patient returned from China well past the COVID-19 incubation period of 14 days. He is currently being treated for the flu.” The man declined ambulance transport, an eyewitness reports.

On Friday, California Department of Public Health officials asked 7,600 residents who returned to the state after visiting China to quarantine themselves at home as health officials try to stop the spread of the coronavirus. These residents had returned to the U.S. on or after Feb. 2, and are being asked to monitor their health, stay home and limit interactions with others, the state health department said in a statement.

There are no known cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in San Luis Obispo County, the county health agency reports.

An eyewitness recounted the scene at the urgent care Monday morning: “I was at the urgent care when this happened… This man walked in with a face mask on, pulled the mask down to speak and told the staff he had been to Hong Kong. A few minutes later fire and an ambulance pulled up and put on full personal protective equipment. The man was walking around the parking lot talking on his phone while they were trying to get him in the ambulance to go to the hospital. At one point it looked like he might go, but he was arguing with them – then he changed his mind and refused, then quickly got in his car and left. It was a scary situation.”

Statement by the county health department regarding COVID-19:

The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department understands that some residents may be concerned about novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, but the health risk to the general public in San Luis Obispo County remains low.

We still consider this a serious public health concern. We are actively working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the state of California Department of Public Health (CDPH), other County officials, local health care providers, and other partners to protect your health.

We may see some cases in our county in the future. However, the flu is present in our community now, and the flu is a greater cause for concern of illness and mortality.

County Public Health is ready to protect the community, but we need your help. We are asking residents to take everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, like the flu and coronavirus: Wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; cover your cough or sneeze; avoid close contact with people who are sick; and stay home when you are sick.

Read the latest updates from the World Health Organization about the coronavirus

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.