The OC Health Care Agency said it received confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday evening that an Orange County case has tested positive for the coronavirus that appears to have spread from China.
The patient, a “traveler from Wuhan, China, has been in contact with the HCA and was provided guidance in order to reduce exposure to the public while awaiting laboratory confirmation from the CDC. The individual has now been transported to a local hospital and is in isolation in good condition.
An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Over 500 cases and 17 deaths have been identified since the outbreak was identified in December. Traveler cases from Wuhan have been identified in other areas of China, including Beijing and Shenzhen, as well as Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea. The first United States case was confirmed earlier this week in a Washington state traveler from Wuhan.
The initial illnesses are believed to be related to animal exposure at the Wuhan South China Seafood City (also called the South China Seafood Wholesale Market and the Hua Nan Seafood Market), which was closed on January 1. More recent cases have demonstrated that person-to-person transmission occurs, and several cases have been seen in healthcare workers who cared for cases, though it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus is spreading between people.
Because the largest number of cases have been identified in Wuhan, public health surveillance is currently focused on travelers from this area. Earlier this week, China announced that they would be restricting travel out of Wuhan, though it is unclear at this point how comprehensive these restrictions will be. CDC has implemented symptom screening of travelers arriving from Wuhan, at Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Screening will be implemented soon at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Most travelers from Wuhan to the United States will pass through one of these airports and receive a health assessment upon arrival. If this assessment reveals no evidence of acute illness, they will be educated about the current outbreak and instructed to seek medical care if they develop illness. Orange County providers may care for patients who develop illness following travel from Wuhan.