Coronavirus death toll rises as San Jose State student, first responders test positive
Health officials from across the Bay Area gathered Monday to deliver a shelter in place order to Bay Area residents, an order aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Photo by Katie Lauer.

    Five people have died from coronavirus in Santa Clara County as of Tuesday evening. Officials announced a man in his 50s died Tuesday after being hospitalized since March 9.

    One of the deaths in Santa Clara County so far includes a homeless resident, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

    As of Monday night, 392 people had tested positive for COVID-19 across the state and six people had died due to the virus, though Santa Clara County has been hit the hardest with 155 confirmed cases, Newsom said.

    On Tuesday night, San Jose State administrators said a student has been diagnosed with coronavirus. The student, who lives off-campus, is recovering at home, according to Patrick Day, vice president for student affairs, and Dr. Barbara Fu, the acting medical director at the university’s student health and wellness center.

    “This is a challenging time for our university and our world,” the statement said.

    The university will advise others of possible contact with the student and urged students to follow CDC recommendations to protect from the virus, though Bay Area health officials on Monday announced a sweeping “shelter in place” order in Santa Clara County and closed public schools across the region.

    Officials said all businesses are required to implement work from home policies or cease “nonessential” operations.

    There are exceptions to the shelter in place order which calls for residents to stay home. Those include health care facilities, businesses that provide food, shelter or social services; grocery and convenience stores; pharmacies; daycares; gas stations; banks; and laundry businesses. Mass transit will remain open, but should only be used for essential activities, county officials urged. Delivery services will also be allowed to operate.

    Meanwhile, more San Jose firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19. So far, 10 have tested positive, up from eight over the weekend. An additional 57 who may have been exposed to the highly-contagious virus are being monitored.

    Fire Stations 9 and 31 have been deep cleaned along with the local fire training center, to prevent the spread of the virus, according to San Jose Firefighters Local 230 spokesperson Sean Lovens.

    In Santa Clara, one police officer has tested positive for COVID-19. The unidentified officer last worked on March 9 and has been self-isolating at home since that date. The officer will continue to isolate for 14 days and is expected to make a full recovery, city officials said Monday afternoon.

    Four San Jose-based TSA agents have also been confirmed to be infected with the virus this week.

    After counties across the Bay Area announced a new shelter in place order for residents to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, one of the big outstanding questions was of enforcement: What would happen if some don’t comply?

    The order is enforceable by law, but the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t announced specific fines or punishments for those who do not avoid leaving their homes for reasons other than the exceptions outlined in the order.

    On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office released a statement asking residents to voluntarily comply.

    “During times of crisis, we know that the community looks to law enforcement to provide public safety, guidance and sense of security,” the statement said. “Our Office stands in alignment with the ‘Shelter in Place’ order set by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and we expect everyone to do their part by voluntarily complying with the order. Let’s all continue to work together to keep Santa Clara County safe.”

    Follow along with San José Spotlight’s real-time coronavirus coverage on our LIVE BLOG here.

    Eduardo Cuevas contributed to this report.

    Contact Janice Bitters at [email protected] or follow @JaniceBitters on Twitter.  Contact Eduardo Cuevas at [email protected] or follow @eduardomcuevas on Twitter.

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