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San Diego County AT&T store worker's initial coronavirus test comes back positive

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Posted at 10:15 AM, Mar 05, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Six San Diego County AT&T stores were closed and deep-cleaned on Wednesday after an employee’s initial test for the coronavirus came back positive.

An AT&T official told 10News that a female employee from the Chula Vista Center mall location recently spent time in Italy -- considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an area “high risk” for the virus -- and returned to work earlier this week.

According to the official, the worker felt ill on March 2 and was sent home. The worker was tested for the coronavirus and it came back with a “presumptive” positive result, but the CDC is looking over the result to fully confirm the diagnosis.

The official told 10News that “out of an abundance of caution, yesterday [March 4] we closed and deep cleaned several stores in the area that his employee or colleagues in close contact to this employee may have visited recently.”

Stores that underwent the deep cleaning were reopened on Thursday. The six stores closed on Wednesday for cleaning are in Chula Vista, National City, Escondido, San Marcos, Oceanside, and Vista.

The AT&T official noted that some workers who may have had close contact with the employee “are in self-quarantine and avoiding any contact with others until further notice.”

10News learned the diagnosed employee does not live in San Diego County and is under a self-quarantine; she also did not have direct contact with customers. 10News was told that Orange County health officials are handling this case.

The AT&T official, citing local authorities, said that possible exposure to store visitors “represents an extremely low risk.”

The City of Chula Vista issued a statement on the possible case:

"On March 4, 2020, the City of Chula Vista was informed by County of San Diego health officials that an individual recently tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 and had close, yet minimal, contact with persons within the city of Chula Vista. The individual is a resident of another CA county and had recently traveled to a high-risk region as defined by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). County health officials have made contact with those persons believed to have been in close contact with the individual. Although County health officials indicate the risk to other persons is low, County officials advised all involved persons to follow CDC guidance to self-quarantine. These persons will continue to be monitored for 14-days. The City of Chula Vista is providing this information out of an abundance of caution. The City of Chula Vista believes the current risk to our community is low and will continue to coordinate with the County of San Diego to monitor the on-going situation."

The Chula Vista Elementary School District said Thursday night that a parent of a pre-school student at Fester Charter School is under self-quarantine.

The person was notified by her employer of possible COVID-19 exposure.

The woman was quarantined due to her exposure to an AT&T regional manager who lives in Orange County.

The woman decided to keep her child home from the school during the 14-day quarantine.

“At this time, there is no indication that the parent of our preschool student has contracted COVID-19. In fact, the HHSA (San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency) has indicated there is a low probability that the individual will contract it,” the district said in a statement.

HHSA also told the district that at no point have any students or staff been “subject to exposure to the COVID-19 virus from this aren’t or student.”

The district sent the following letter to parents and staff:

Dear District Parents/Guardians and Staff:

Our District has been informed that a parent of a pre-school student at one of our schools is being monitored and quarantined by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) because of exposure to an individual who has a case of COVID-19. At this time, there is no indication that the parent has contracted COVID-19, and the HHSA has indicated there is a low probability that the individual will contract it. Due to the way the COVID-19 virus is spread, per current protocol (directed by the Centers for Disease Control), the HHSA only quarantines an individual if they have had direct and close contact with a person tested positive for the virus. The parent made the decision to keep their child home from Feaster Charter School during the 14-day quarantine and monitoring period, so there is no risk to the school, students or staff.

It is critical to remain calm and reasonable during this time. According to HHSA, at no point have any of our students or staff members been subject to exposure to the COVID-19 virus from this parent or student. Across the country, there have been reports of students and others being stigmatized due to their proximity (either real or perceived) to COVID-19 virus patients. We ask that you respect the privacy of students and staff. Reasonable dialogue and listening to the experts at the HHSA is what we need to focus on and the District is committed to providing additional information as it is provided by our partner agencies.

We have been and will continue to be in close contact with the County Office of Education, City of Chula Vista, and other response agencies. We follow the direction of the Centers for Disease Control, California Department of Public Health, the San Diego HHSA and other coordinating agencies.

We continue to work with these agencies to ensure that we are planning appropriate precautionary steps while we work through these issues of health and safety. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you as we receive additional information.