Updated 2:22 p.m.
The Sacramento County Health Department says it has identified a confirmed case of COVID-19, the first novel case of coronavirus in the county.
According to the agency, the person returned from China to the U.S. on February 2. That country has had a novel coronavirus outbreak since December 2019. The Sacramento resident is currently without symptoms but will remain quarantined at home until cleared by the county public health department.
A statement from the county says the risk to the public is “extremely low” as the person “took precautionary measures during travel and has self-quarantined since returning.” The person went to the doctor with mild flu symptoms and was tested by the health department which sends samples to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
There has been a problem nationwide with the test kits as local labs have discovered they don’t always work. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters this morning on a conference call that the center is working to replace parts of the kits called reagents that provide a chemical reaction when a positive sample is submitted.
“That is a normal part unfortunately for these processes,” Messonnier said. “We obviously would not want to use anything but the most perfect possible kits since we’re making determinations about whether people have Covid 19 or not.”
Overnight, a separate case was also identified in Humboldt County in a similar situation of a person who had returned from China. That brings the number of U.S. cases to 14.
Dr. Terry Frankovich, the Humboldt County Health Officer told CapRadio this afternoon that it is monitoring an undisclosed number of people who have had very close contact with the infected person, but the community should not be overly concerned.
“We’re seeing transmission between those individuals who truly have close contact and not the community at large,” Frankovich said. “That should be reassuring to the public. These individuals have been isolated while they’ve been ill here.”
These cases are not related to the Diamond Princess Cruises ship that has been docked in Yokohama Japan since February 4. Eighteen cruise-goers who have been brought back to the U.S. by the government have tested positive. Ten more have been treated in hospitals in Japan.
As for the people remaining on-board, Messonnier said the outbreak is expected to continue to spread. “They are considered at high risk for infection and we do expect to see additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the passengers,” she said.
Three people who were in the Wuhan Province of China and were evacuated February 5 have also tested positive. They were among 345 people brought to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield and Miramar Air Force Base in Southern California. CDC says the remaining people have been allowed to leave quarantine.
Sacramento County Public Health urges anyone who has traveled to China or has had contact with someone who has and is feeling ill to call ahead before going to a doctor.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of confirmed U.S. cases. There have been 14. It also incorrectly identified which bases evacuees were sent to. Those were They were Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield and Miramar Air Force Base in Southern California.
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