Lowell High School in San Francisco closed until Monday amid coronavirus concerns

San Francisco confirmed two diagnoses of the coronavirus and one of those patients infected is the parent of a student at Lowell High School. 

San Francisco Unified School District officials said the school is temporarily closed until Monday. 

The student who was possibly exposed to the virus is under quarantine but isn't showing any coronavirus-like symptoms. 

The 3,000 Lowell High School students were sent home Thursday.

"We're taking the families, their concerns into account, and we know this was a conservative decision," said Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of SFUSD. "But we did this out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our students."

School officials haven't disclosed many details about the student but said it does not appear the student has siblings at any other schools in the district. 

According to SFUSD, there has not been a spike in the number of students complaining of flu-like illness.

On Thursday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed made an announcement that health officials previously warned was inevitable. 

"Today we are announcing the first two cases of coronavirus in our city. They've been detected in San Francisco," said Mayor Breed. "These individuals are contained."

Health officials didn't offer a lot of details about the patients and only said the cases are unrelated. The patients are being treated at two separate hospitals in the city. 

The first case is a man in his 90s with underlying health conditions who is in serious condition. The other is a woman in her 40s in fair condition. 

San Francisco tested those patients Tuesday and the results later came back confirming that both have COVID-19. 

Health officials said neither had direct contact with anyone on board the Grand Princess cruise ship that has been associated with any other coronavirus cases. 

"We do not know at this point how they were exposed to the virus which again suggests it is spreading in the community,' said Dr. Grant Colfax from San Francisco's Department of Public Health. "We expected that to happen, we anticipated that."

The city is now able to test samples locally and the results should come back in a day or two instead of waiting as long as a week for the results from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. 

"We will be monitoring them for symptoms, we will be taking a close history to ensure that to see if there are any additional public health steps that need to be made," said Dr. Colfax. "And whether testing is needed at this time."

San Francisco officials confirmed that the coronavirus is in the city and the fight shifts subtly from preventing any cases to now preventing the spread throughout the city. 

Health experts said the best advice is to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. 

People who are sick should stay at home to avoid infecting others. 

 "Ensure that when you greet people you can do an elbow bump," said Dr. Colfax. "Do not shake hands at this time. Public health data show that that can reduce the rate of transmission."