Updated 5 p.m., 3/10/20: Calaveras County Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita stated during a press conference Tuesday that the infected father was exposed to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) while working in a non-adjacent county.

The infected child, who is a student at Copperopolis Elementary, "had very little contact with other people during the time that she was contagious," Kelaita said.

However, under recommendation from Public Health, Copperopolis Elementary School will be closed tomorrow through Friday for sanitation, Kelaita said. 

The school will reopen Monday "assuming that there’s no new case activity between now and then," Kelaita said. "This is a pretty rapidly evolving situation."

Public Health is also considering the cancellation of mass gatherings in the county, including Murphys Irish Day on March 21.

Official recommendations will be issued in the next 12 to 24 hours as the local health department confers with event coordinators and the California Department of Public Health, Kelaita said. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 647 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 25 resulting deaths.

The two infected individuals in Copperopolis are the first confirmed cases in Calaveras County. 

Currently, there are no reported cases in Amador or Tuolumne counties. However, a resident of Placer County died and three other cases were confirmed after an outbreak occurred on the Grand Princess cruise ship, which traveled from San Francisco to Mexico Feb. 11-21.

According to Kelaita, local jurisdictions were alerted of residents exposed to the cruise ship outbreak after they returned home. As a result, two Calaveras County citizens were tested for COVID-19 and were determined not to be infected with the virus.

Public Health could not confirm if there are any Calaveras County residents currently aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is being held in the Port of Oakland for processing after another outbreak occurred during its latest voyage.

Original Article:

Calaveras County Public Health has declared a public health emergency after two family members in Copperopolis tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), the health department announced Tuesday afternoon.

One of the individuals is a child who is enrolled at Copperopolis Elementary School, according to Public Health.

“Public Health officials are coordinating with local schools on further actions,” the department stated in Tuesday’s news release. “The family has remained isolated at home since this investigation began. Public Health is identifying persons who may have had close personal contact with these individuals, including friends or family members. Close personal contacts identified during this investigation will be quarantined.”

The two cases of novel coronavirus are the first to be confirmed in Calaveras County. 

Public Health reported that the infected individuals were exposed to the virus outside of the county, but Calaveras County Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita says the confirmed cases may lead to a local spread of the disease.

“We are urging older people and people with serious medical conditions – like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes – to take extra steps to protect yourself from COVID-19,” Kelaita said.

Calaveras Public Health continues to recommend that the public do the following to protect themselves and others from respiratory illnesses:

• Stay home from work or school and limit contact with others if you are sick.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Clean surfaces that are touched often, like toys and doorknobs.

Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.


Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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