Two potential cases of Wuhan coronavirus in Ventura County joined the growing number of suspected cases in the U.S., which had risen to 293 today from 260 on Monday. Of those, only 11 were positive for the new virus coming out of Hubei Province in central China, and 206 were definitely negative. One case in Ventura is negative, and the other’s test is still pending at the sole testing facility at the Centers of Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, the county’s health official, Dr. Robert Levin, said. The agency submitted an Emergency Use Authorization to the Food and Drug Administration on February 3, which would allow it to distribute test kits nationally and internationally; the FDA has yet to authorize its use.
Two new cases in California’s San Benito County, however, confirmed the first person-to-person exposure in the state. The previous patients had all been to Wuhan or China within two weeks of their illness. On February 2, the state Public Health department announced that one spouse who had been to China had passed the virus to the other. That brings the California total to six cases — a newly reported second case in Santa Clara County, and one each in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
On Monday, February 3, the CDC added a patient in Boston, Massachusetts, to the U.S. list. Dr. Nancy Messonier, head of respiratory infections, clarified the travel restrictions in a press conference that day. Passengers who’ve been in Hubei or mainland China in the previous 14 days would be screened, she said. Symptomatic U.S. citizens were to be isolated for two weeks —195 people were in quarantine as of the 3rd, Messonier said. This included the people the U.S. was airlifting from Hubei. Asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel to their destination but asked to self-quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days. Messonier noted the patient number in China had leapt from 41 a few weeks ago to more than 17,000 that day. On Tuesday it stood at more than 20,000 confirmed in China, by the World Health Organization, and as many as 425 deaths. One new death, outside the country for the first time, was reported in the Phillipines. The CDC’s Messonier stated the risk level in the United States remains low as the disease does not seem to be spreading widely here.
The infection seems to have originated in bats being sold in a “wet market” of live animals for food in Wuhan in late December. Symptoms among confirmed patients — fever, cough, and shortness of breath — have ranged from little to none to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. As well, the time for symptoms to appear is between two and 14 days. As in all flus and colds, people are reminded to wash their hands frequently, definitely before eating, and to stay home if sick.