Health officials confirm case of new virus in California

January 26, 2020 - 3:35 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — On the heels of confirmed cases in Chicago and Washington state, a patient in Southern California was diagnosed with the new pneumonia-like virus from China, health officials said.

Just before midnight Saturday, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a traveler from the Chinese city of Wuhan — the epicenter of the outbreak — tested positive for the virus. The patient is in isolation at a hospital and in good condition, a release from the agency said.

That patient had been in contact with the local health agency was provided guidance to reduce exposure to others while health officials awaited laboratory confirmation. After consulting with the CDC and the California Department of Public Health, the Orange County agency will follow up with people who have had close contact with the patient.

Guidance from the CDC advises that people who have had casual contact with the patient are at “minimal risk” for developing infection. There's no evidence that person-to-person transmission occurred in Orange County, and the risk of local transmission remains low, the release said. Further details about the case weren't released.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. It is a member of the coronavirus family that's a close cousin to the deadly SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

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