SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A worker at the Rohnert Park Health Center on State Farm Drive tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Saturday and is now in self-quarantine, Mayor Joe Callinan said Sunday.

County health officials also identified a second case of coronavirus without any connection to recent travel. These cases are the first confirmed in Sonoma County. The second individual has also been asked to self-quarantine.

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The county was previously aware of three cases of coronavirus and each was a patient with a known source. But on Thursday, the county health officer ordered an increased detection effort at all its facilities and it didn’t take long for the truth to emerge. At a news conference in Santa Rosa on Sunday, officials reported the news.

“From this heightened surveillance project, we have now identified as of yesterday, March 14th, an additional case of COVID-19 that appears to be from community transmission,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County Interim Health Officer. “This person has no contact to anyone else and also had no history of travel to an area where there were a lot of cases.”

“Community transmission” simply means health officials don’t know where it came from, which also means COVID-19 is now officially out in the general population. The infected employee is not being identified.

The center “is identifying and notifying anyone who might have come in close contact with them, including patients and staff. We applaud the Rohnert Park Health Center for being forthright and transparent in sharing this information in a timely manner,” Callinan said in a statement.

“On behalf of the City of Rohnert Park, we want to share our concern and send our good thoughts to the employee who tested positive and to their family,” Callinan said. “Our concern extends to all who may have had contact with the employee as well as our entire community.”

Those with coronavirus symptoms in the county should contact their primary physician to see if they should be tested, Dr. Mase advused. The county’s public health lab and commercial labs such as Quest and LabCorp are now qualified to test for the virus.

Meanwhile, the community is being asked to step up good hygiene practices and social distancing and is restricting visitation at long-term care facilities. The county has ordered the cancellation of events of over 250 individuals and gatherings of more than 10 persons amongst high risk people.

“We’ve been through disasters and emergencies before and you’ve been with us every step of the way,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Susan Gorin.

She called for calm and to resist the urge to horde items such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies and water.

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“We know that this is scary and disruptive,” Gorin said. “We haven’t been through THIS kind of disaster before, but we can do that…because we are Sonoma Strong.”

The county has set up an information hub for the public. To access it click on

In other Sonoma County coronavirus related news:

Santa Rosa city school officials announced they were suspending in-person classes and canceling after-school activities and child care for the next three weeks.

The closure begins Monday and will run though April 5, according to a release from the district, which has 16,000 students in 24 schools.

The decision to shutter school sites, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, was made in collaboration with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and the Sonoma County Office of Education.

On Saturday evening, both of those county offices released a joint statement recommending all school districts in the county suspend classes through March 27. With most districts in spring break this week, March 16-20, the suspensions would officially start March 23.

“Schools are vital community hubs and service providers. This recommendation to postpone in-person classes was not made lightly,” Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, said in a statement. “We know that suspending classes creates a significant disruption to the lives of students, staff and families. School districts have been diligently preparing for how to offer continuity of education, meals and other vital services even if students are not physically at school.”

Board of Education officials said leaders from each district will work with the Department of Health Services and will meet with County Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase on Monday to discuss specific plans for their areas.

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