Moorpark College sees first case of COVID-19 as cases continue to rise in Ventura County

Image+of+COVID-19%2C+Coronavirus.+Photo+courtesy+of+CDC.

Image of COVID-19, Coronavirus. Photo courtesy of CDC.

By Dominic D'Amico

Sunday morning, the VCCCD announced the first case of the COVID-19 coronavirus on one of its campuses. The case involves a Moorpark College student who was last on campus March 9. The VCCCD and the college have been in contact with Ventura County Public Health and have also notified all students, faculty and staff who might have had close contact with the student.

While this case represents the first known case of the COVID-19 coronavirus on a VCCCD campus, Moorpark College Interim President Julius Sokenu offered a measured reassurance in an email sent out to Moorpark College faculty members the previous night.

“At this point, VCPH (Ventura County Public Health) indicates that it is unlikely that any individuals who have NOT developed symptoms yet from this particular exposure will do so, however, everyone needs to be alert to symptoms and contact health providers and their instructors or supervisors if COVID-19 symptoms arise,” Sokenu stated.

Following the VCCCD announcement, Sokenu also detailed Moorpark College’s plans to deal with areas that may have had greater exposure to the virus.

“Facilities, maintenance and operations staff clean classrooms with industrial-strength agents daily. Custodial staff are disinfecting door handles and surfaces across campus daily… Additionally, we plan to deep clean the classrooms where the student who tested positive for COVID-19 may have received instruction,” Sokenu outlined.

Sokenu also stated that Moorpark College will soon receive two machines that will allow public areas of the campus to be cleaned weekly. The machines will be able to mist disinfectant onto all exposed areas within an 18,000-square-foot range in a time span of about an hour, allowing for areas be cleaned quickly.

City breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Ventura County. Image courtesy of Ventura County.

City breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Ventura County. Image courtesy of Ventura County.

In the VCCCD’s announcement of the COVID-19 case, VCCCD Board of Trustees Chair Bernardo M. Perez thanked students, faculty and staff across the district for their work in transitioning to virtual instruction.

“An effort like this has been colossal and could have only happened by the dedication and deep commitment to each other and our community. This is at the heart of who we are,” Perez stated.

This news comes as Ventura County Public Health announced that the total number of COVID-19 cases in Ventura County has now jumped to 26. In a breakdown of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county per city, Ventura County Public Health confirms that Simi Valley has the most confirmed cases, with seven total. While neighboring Thousand Oaks and Camarillo followed closely with five and four.

The past few days have seen the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus send shockwaves through everyday life. On the local level, all Ventura County schools have ceased in-person instruction through at least May 1, while state-wide, California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an order closing many businesses and telling people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

Interim President Sokenu advised the Moorpark College community to take these measures seriously, in order to help one another.

“We are now at a stage where the probability of contracting the virus is rooted in the choices we make as a community, which is why I encourage everyone to follow Governor Newsom’s ‘stay at home’ guidance on social distancing and public health protocols,” Sokenu said. “If we treat this guidance with the seriousness it demands, we can indeed flatten the curve of this disease and its impact in our community will be mild.”