January 26, 2020
UPDATE: A fourth case of coronavirus in the United States was discovered in Los Angeles County, California and confirmed by authorities on Sunday. The patient tested positive for the virus after traveling from Wuhan, China, the location which has been at the center of the outbreak. The fourth patient, who has not been identified, is in isolation at an undisclosed hospital. Like the patient in Orange County, the Los Angeles County patient reported symptoms to health officials upon not feeling well after arriving back to the U.S.
A third case of coronavirus in the United States has been discovered in Southern California, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed to the Associated Press.
The CDC said that the patient had been traveling from Wuhan, China, which is the origin of the pneumonia-like virus. The patient is in isolation at a hospital and in good condition, according to the CDC.
The patient, who is now in Orange County, California, contacted local health officials upon arrival back to the U.S. after picking up the virus, the CDC said. The agency is now conducting lab tests on the patient as he or she is quarantined in a local hospital to reduce exposure of the virus to the public.
The death toll from the virus in China has risen to 56 and nearly 2,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide, according to the AP.
The CDC is investigating at least 63 potential cases in 22 states, and 11 cases have been confirmed as negative as the agency still considers the overall risk for Americans as low.
Along with the United States, the coronavirus has also spread to Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. As a result, Wuhan has announced a complete travel ban on people entering or leaving the city due to the coronavirus outbreak. The CDC recommends anyone visiting China to practice good hygiene and avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
The CDC has been conducting advanced screenings at five U.S. airports in order to identify possible coronavirus cases entering the country: Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.
More than 2,000 passengers have been screened for suspicion of coronavirus as of this past Thursday, according to the CDC.
Any returning travelers who have been in Wuhan within the past two weeks and develop coronavirus symptoms should call their doctor immediately, the CDC said. They stressed that it is important to call ahead before going to the doctor or emergency room and to tell them about your symptoms and travel history.
Health providers are also being asked to immediately alert infection control and their state and local health departments.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause symptoms similar to the common cold. Most of them only cause mild to moderate symptoms. But some of them, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), can cause severe illnesses.
Respiratory and blood samples are being collected and sent to the CDC to confirm diagnosis. The test being used by the CDC will soon become available to state health departments too.
The CDC will begin providing regular updates about the coronavirus on its website this week, which can be found here.