Americas, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

US: California confirms 33 cases of new coronavirus

Five individuals have left the state, says California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Michael Gabriel Hernandez   | 28.02.2020
US: California confirms 33 cases of new coronavirus


California has 33 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with five of those individuals having since left the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday. 

The state is monitoring an additional 8,400 people who have come in on commercial flights, Newsom added.

Of the 33 confirmed cases, 24 were from flights repatriated by the federal government, while seven others were travel-related, another was due to person-to-person transmission and the newest case is from an unknown source, Dr. Sonia Angell, California's Department of Public Health director, said while addressing reporters alongside Newsom and other California health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced late Wednesday that a patient in northern California is possibly the first to have been infected from within the public. The individual does not have a relevant travel history, nor does she have known exposure with confirmed COVID-19.

The individual, whose identity has not been publicly disclosed, was transferred to the University of California at Davis Medical Center from another hospital in northern California.

"We knew this was inevitable, as it relates to the nature, the epidemiology, of these viruses, that that incident would occur," Newsom said, referring to the case. "When hearing about it, we initiated a series of protocols that we were prepared to advance."

That includes "deep tracking" of individuals the patient has been in contact with and working with federal health officials on the outbreak.

The patient was not immediately administered a COVID-19 test, and a number of days passed before it was given, according to California health officials.

Newsom said California is now in "deep partnership" with the CDC on testing individuals for the virus.

California has just a few hundred testing kits on hand, a situation Newsom described as "inadequate," adding the CDC has assured state authorities that the testing protocols "will be advanced with urgency."

The new coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan city in China's Hubei province last December.

The global death toll is nearly 2,800, with China being the worst hit, with more than 78,000 cases and over 2,700 fatalities.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency and said the global risk level remains high.

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