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New Coronavirus Case In Northern California Is The First Of Unknown Origin

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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

UC Davis confirmed on Thursday a patient being treated at its Medical Center is "possibly the first patient to have received the infection from exposure in the community."

A memo sent by the CEOs of UC Davis Health and the Medical Center states that the patient was transferred to its facility on Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento on February 19, and was tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, four days later, on Sunday.

UC Davis says it requested testing for the disease when the patient was admitted, but that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention denied it.

"Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered. UC Davis Health does not control the testing process," the letter reads.

The CDC finally ordered the test on February 23, according to the letter.

A "small number" of UC Davis employees have been asked to stay home and "monitor their temperature" due to possible exposure. The letter says hospital officials are requesting this "out of an abundance of caution" and "in order to assure the health and safety of our employees."

The memo also states that this is not the first COVID-19 patient the Medical Center has treated.

"As we regularly handle patients with infectious diseases, we have robust infection control protocols in place to handle this patient and others with more frequently seen infectious diseases," it reads.

***

A new case of coronavirus disease COVID-19, diagnosed in Northern California and being treated in Sacramento, is the first case in the United States of unknown origin, according to officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a press release from the California Department of Public Health, the patient is a resident of Solano County and being treated in Sacramento County.

The statement says they "had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected individual."

Sacramento County confirmed the case. "This patient is in isolation," spokesperson Kim Nava said. "Sacramento County Public Health is working closely with state and federal agencies to determine the source of the individual's infection and are conducting contact investigations."

CDPH says the risk to the general public remains low, and that they are assessing the situation as it evolves. 

"We have been anticipating the potential for such a case in the U.S., and given our close familial, social and business relationships with China, it is not unexpected that the first case in the U.S. would be in California," Dr. Sonia Angell, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer said in a statement.

She continued: "That’s why California has been working closely with federal and local partners, including health care providers and hospitals, since the outbreak was first reported in China — and we are already responding."

The Washington Post first reported the case Wednesday afternoon, the 60th case in the United States, 45 of which are connected to the  Diamond Princess cruise ship.

CDC officials confirmed this case is not related to the cruise ship, and that the patient hadn't traveled out of the country or been in contact with some who had.

Before Wednesday, there were 10 confirmed cases in California, according to the California Department of Public HealthSacramento County reported its first case last week.

San Francisco declared a state of emergency around the disease Tuesday, and Orange County did the same Wednesday.

The diagnosis comes as fears around the disease in the United States continue to grow.

On Tuesday, officials with the CDC told Americans to prepare for COVID-19 to continue to spread. And on Wednesday, President Trump called a press conference to announce Vice President Mike Pence would lead the nation's response.

NPR reports there are more than 81,191 cases related to the novel coronavirus globally, according to a dashboard created by the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. 

Copyright 2020 CapRadio