Coronavirus: California Monitoring over 8,400 People

Governor Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

The state of California is monitoring at least 8,400 people for the deadly Chinese coronavirus after the first unknown case of origin was confirmed in Solano County, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.

Newsom said that 33 people in California have tested positive for coronavirus and that five of them have been transported out of the state. As of Wednesday, the U.S. confirmed 60 cases, including 42 cases of Americans citizens repatriated earlier this month from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

“We are currently in deep partnership with CDC on one overriding protocol that drives our principle focus right now and that’s testing, and the importance to increase our testing protocols and to have point of contact diagnostic testing as our top priority not just in the state of California but I imagine all across the United States,” Newsom told reporters at a press conference.

“We have just a few hundred testing kits and that’s surveillance testing as well as diagnostic testing. That’s simply inadequate to do justice to the kind of testing that is required to address this issue head-on,” he added.

The development comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday the first transmission of the deadly coronavirus in the U.S.

The CDC said a person from California has been diagnosed with COVID-19 despite not having come into contact with anyone infected with the virus or traveled to places where the disease is present.

“At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown,” the CDC said in a release. “It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States.”

The CDC defines community spread of an illness when the source of infection is unknown.

It said the California patient, who was detected through the U.S. public health system, may have come into contact with someone who recently traveled to one of several countries currently combating the spread of the disease.

The Solano County resident was receiving medical treatment in Sacramento County, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the CDPH, said they have been anticipating community transmission of the virus in the state given its close relationship with China where there have been more than 2,700 deaths from COVID-19 and 78,000 confirmed cases since the outbreak began in early December.

The UPI contributed to this report. 

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