Arizona, California Cases Push U.S. Tally Of Coronavirus To 5

Published: Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 1:52pm
Updated: Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 9:31pm

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. has five confirmed cases of the new virus from China, all of whom traveled to the city that is the center of the outbreak, health officials said Sunday.

Two new cases were reported Sunday — one in Los Angeles County in California and the other in Maricopa County, Arizona. The others were a patient in Orange County, California, who was in isolation at a hospital and in good condition; a man in his 30s in Washington state; and a woman in her 60s from Chicago.

The Arizona person is a student at Arizona State University who recently returned from Wuhan, China. The Arizona Department of Health says the student is not severely ill but is being kept in isolation to prevent the virus from spreading. The student does not reside in university housing.

Health Services director Dr. Cara Christ said, “While the immediate risk of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to the general public is believed to be low at this time, ADHS and our county public health partners will continue to actively monitor for the disease.”

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. It is a member of the coronavirus family that's a close cousin to the deadly SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

Dozens of people have died from the virus in China, which has issued massive travel bans in hard-hit sections of that country to try to stem spread of the virus. The U.S. consulate in Wuhan announced Sunday that it would evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight.

The CDC expects more Americans to be diagnosed with the newly discovered virus, which is believed to have an incubation period of about two weeks, as worldwide the number of confirmed cases nears 2,000. The CDC is screening passengers on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan at five major airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Guidance from the CDC advises that people who have had casual contact with the patient are at “minimal risk” for developing infection.

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