Education · Highlight · Local

Coronavirus leads to fresh round of Valley closures, cancellations

Confirmed local cases of the coronavirus disease have led key Valley institutions to cancel events or suspend in-person operations on Thursday.

Fresno State announced that it would suspend all in-person instruction on Monday to allow for a transition to online instruction beginning on Friday, March 20.

Wednesday, the university cancelled two big events scheduled for March.

Fresno Pacific University, meanwhile, announced a temporary suspension of in-person classes through March 21. The university said it would announce a fully-fleshed out response to the health issue on Friday.

Local school districts, operating on an order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, have shed nonessential travel, including school field trips.

During a press conference hosted by the Fresno County Office of Education, Superintendents for Fresno County’s largest school districts discussed their coordinated plan to reduce mass attendance events to eliminate coronavirus risk.

Aside from the short-term closure of Parlier Unified, no Fresno County school district has plans to suspend instruction and close campuses.

Meanwhile, Tulare County joined two other Valley counties on Wednesday, with public health officials announcing the county has its first confirmed case of coronavirus.

County Public Health officer Dr. Karen Haught said that that the patient is in stable condition and is believed to have contracted the virus out of the area.

The individual entered public areas while showing symptoms for the virus, and the Tulare County Public Health Branch is conducting an investigation.

Tulare County public health officials held a press conference on Thursday to address the announcement.

Public Health Director Karen Elliott said the individual was tested at Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville and is currently in isolation at home.

“The individual does not fall within a vulnerable population,” Elliot said.

Officials did not release any more information about the infected individual.

“Part of our investigation is to locate and identify people that may have been in close contact with the individual,” Elliot said.

She encouraged people to cover their coughs and sneezes, wash their hands frequently and to stay home if they are sick.

“The COVID-19 infection can be transmitted from person to person via airborne droplets such as coughing or sneezing,” Elliot said. “It is highly contagious and can be characterized by a fever and either mild cold-like symptoms or a more severe lung infection. This should not be confused with other coronaviruses which are of the cold-like variety.”

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.