Costa Brings Valley Health Leaders Together To Coordinate Coronavirus Response Efforts

Mar 3, 2020
Press Release

(Fresno) – In response to the global outbreak of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), Congressman Jim Costa convened a group of valley healthcare leaders to discuss local efforts to combat the respiratory disease, which was first detected in China late last year.  Rep. Costa called on the Federal Government to work to provide a smart, robust and strategic response across the nation. He plans to support an emergency funding supplemental in the House that fully addresses the scale of this public health crisis:  

“A passive approach to fighting this deadly virus is not working, we need to find solutions that work for Americans now,” said Costa. “ I brought our local health agencies together so we can discuss what is needed to fight this disease and what I can do to make it happen, including ensuring they have the funding necessary to tackle this illness head on.”

Costa’s office has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 health crisis, working with a local constituent diagnosed with to the disease while traveling in Japan. While there are NO confirmed current cases of COVID-19 in Fresno, Madera or Merced counties, health agencies in those areas are working vigilantly to address potential threats. Health officials joining Rep. Costa for the discussion were representatives from the Fresno County Health Department, Madera County Health Department, The VA Central California Health Care System (VACCHCS), and Community Medical Centers:

“The Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) was pleased to meet with Congressman Costa’s office today to discuss the coordinated response to COVID-19 between federal, state, and local partners. This meeting gave us an opportunity to better collaborate and coordinate resources and identify needed resources going forward.” - Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Health Officer, Fresno County Department of Public Health.

“As first responders, Central Valley local health departments have prepared for communicable diseases such as coronavirus. We appreciate the early response, support, and consistent communication from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health and are working together with local healthcare, schools, and community partners to identify potential cases and limit exposure.” – Sara Bosse, Public Health Director, Madera County.

Community Medical Centers is committed to partnering with our local and state officials to serve the health needs of our community. We continuously prepare and train for situations like this one and stand ready to respond.” -- Dr. Tom Utecht, Chief Medical and Quality Officer, Community Medical Centers

Situation in California:

While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, there are 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California; nine of which are travel related, two due to person-to-person exposure in a health care facility and three from unknown sources. Approximately 300 persons have been tested to date. 

What to Expect:

More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, it’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States and California.

Where To Go For Help: 

Congressman Costa’s office is here to help. If you or someone you know has or believes to have coronavirus, we can provide you with resources or connect you with healthcare officials who can help. 

Contact one of our district offices:

Fresno District Office

Merced District Office

Or email us at:


Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:


What You Can Do: 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to the virus. However, the CDC recommends everyday preventive strategies to help prevent its spread, including: 

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough, or sneeze with a tissue (then throw the tissue in the trash!)
  • Wash your hands often and vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

What Congressman Costa is Doing:

The United States needs a fully funded, robust and strategic coordinated effort to confront this epidemic. The House of Representatives will advance a funding package that fully addresses the seriousness of this public health crisis without pulling funds from existing programs. 

I am calling on the Trump Administration to reinstate the global health security teams at the National Security Council and Department of Homeland Security that are charged with managing epidemics – such as the Ebola outbreak of 2014 – that were dismantled by this Administration in 2018 to cut costs. 

Additional Information: 

Because new information surfaces every day, please visit the sites below to state up to date: 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) provide updates on the virus and safety information for the public. 

You can sign up for email updates from the CDC here and from the WHO here

You can find local resources at the following: 
Fresno County Department of Public Health
Madera County Health Department
Merced County Department of Public Health