First Positive COVID-19 Case Announced In Butte County

Mar 21, 2020

A screenshot from Facebook of Butte County Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Miller announcing the first positive lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in Butte County on Saturday, March 21, 2020.

A Chico man has tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement was made Saturday afternoon by Butte County Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Miller at a breaking news press conference in Oroville.

The pronouncement marks the first positive lab-confirmed case of the virus in Butte County.  

“It’s still unknown how the person contracted the virus and an investigation is ongoing,” Miller said.  

Miller said the individual is an adult over 65 years old with chronic medical conditions. He said the person is experiencing mild illness and that they’re self-isolating at home. He said one family member who the individual resides with is under a 14-day quarantine where they'll be monitored daily by communicable disease staff from the Butte County Public Health Department.

“So, this case reinforces the stay at home order that was announced by our governor, Gavin Newsom, on Thursday the 19th” Miller said. “We urge Butte County residents, and really residents everywhere, to adhere to that guidance.”

Miller said people experiencing respiratory symptoms (coughing/sneezing) should follow the county’s guidance for people with "mild" symptoms of COVID-19, which includes:

  • Avoiding close contact with others
  • Staying home for at least seven days from the start of symptoms
  • Staying home for at least 72 hours after a fever is gone (*without taking medications to lower your temperature)
  • Staying home until respiratory symptoms have improved

While fielding questions from reporters, Miller stated the individual was tested for the virus after visiting an emergency room with mild respiratory symptoms and a fever. He said at this time, he would not comment on the name of the hospital where the emergency room was located. Miller said the person had also been tested previously at “a major medical center in the Bay Area” while visiting for a procedure.  

Image used courtesy of California Department of Public Health

He told reporters he could not answer whether the individual was retired or working in the community.

“In order to try to get you information quickly, as we thought we owed you, our investigation just started a few hours ago, so there’s a lot that we don’t know,” Miller said, “But again this person was symptomatic before they went on a trip to the major medical center.”  

Miller said the results of the second test came in Saturday. 

Regarding the medical status of the individual, Miller said: “Fortunately, this person has only had very mild illness and appears to be doing quite well.”

For more information about COVID-19 in Butte County, the symptoms of novel coronavirus and guidance on staying safe, visit the Butte County Public Health website.