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Fifth US case of coronavirus confirmed as China warns people can spread the virus before they feel ill

Another case of coronavirus has been confirmed, in Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday, bringing the total to five cases i...

Posted: Jan 26, 2020 10:51 AM
Updated: Jan 28, 2020 4:15 AM

Another case of coronavirus has been confirmed, in Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday, bringing the total to five cases in the United States.

The increase came as a top Chinese health official delivered some worrisome news about efforts to contain the fast-moving virus.

Several people have been infected with the Wuhan coronavirus in the US -- including a man in his 30s in Washington state; a Chicago woman in her 60s; a man in his 50s in Orange County, California, a patient in Los Angeles County; and a fifth in Arizona. All had recently traveled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Worried? Here's how to protect yourself

'As with other respiratory illnesses, there are steps that everyone can take to reduce the risk of getting sick from circulating viruses, including coronavirus. This includes remaining home when ill, washing hands with soap and water frequently, and getting vaccinated against flu,' said Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

The Orange County victim is in isolation and in 'good condition' at a local hospital, the county's Health Care Agency said in a statement. The Los Angeles County patient was being treated at a hospital as well, officials said.

State and federal officials are following up with anyone who may have had close contact with the person and is at risk of infection.

Chinese Health Minister delivers a 'game changer'

News of the latest American case comes as Chinese Health Minister Ma Xiaowei delivered the revelation that people can spread the virus before they have symptoms -- which a veteran US health adviser called a 'game changer' -- but not in a good way.

It calls into question current US practices to contain the virus, longtime CDC adviser Dr. William Schaffner said.

'When I heard this, I thought, 'Oh dear, this is worse than we anticipated.' It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought,' said Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

If Ma is correct -- and information about the virus is constantly evolving -- people can go two weeks without realizing they're sick, during which time they can spread the virus.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, questioned Ma's statement.

'We at CDC don't have clear evidence that patients are infectious before symptom onset,' Messonnier said, 'but we are actively investigating that possibility.'

The risk for the American public contracting the virus continues to be low, Messonnier said. 'We need to be preparing as if this is a pandemic,' she said, 'but I continue to hope that it is not.'

At least 56 dead in China

In addition to Arizona and California, cases have been reported in Illinois and Washington state. The Illinois woman had not been sick while traveling from Wuhan to the US on January 13, said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The CDC said it's taking aggressive measures to stop the spread of the virus in the United States, but while it considers it a serious public health threat, the immediate risk to Americans is low.

The stateside cases prompted Sen. Chuck Schumer to urge the US Department of Health and Human Services to declare an emergency to free up $85 million for the CDC.

The money is already appropriated and sitting in the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund, he said, and the CDC will have full discretion to use the money for epidemiological endeavors, screening, public awareness, staffing and educating local and state officials.

'We want to make sure (the CDC) can sustain this pace and have all the dollars they need should the outbreak get worse,' the senator said. 'Use the key now and unlock the money.'

At least 56 people have been killed by the coronavirus in China, and nearly 2,000 confirmed cases have been reported as the nation struggles to contain the outbreak.

Authorities have imposed indefinite restrictions on public transport and travel, with motor vehicles banned in Wuhan's city center starting Sunday to control the flow of people. Only vehicles with special permits, free shuttles and government vehicles will be allowed to move around.

Amid the lockdown, countries like the US and France have been trying to evacuate their citizens from the central Chinese city. Outside of China, more than 40 confirmed cases have been identified in about a dozen countries.

Coronaviruses are transmitted by animals and people, and the Wuhan strain has been linked to a market in the city that was selling seafood and live animals, including wild species. The Chinese government announced that it's banning all sales of wild animals

Beijing will deploy an additional 1,600 medical professionals to Wuhan to help the city cope with the growing number of coronavirus patients, health officials said.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly attribute a quote to Dr. Allison Arwady.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32314

Reported Deaths: 542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7081137
Marion462792
Washington446859
Umatilla294841
Clackamas237761
Malheur160926
Lane114317
Jackson11235
Deschutes81012
Yamhill75513
Jefferson5248
Polk52315
Linn50813
Morrow4986
Lincoln47813
Union4432
Benton3076
Wasco2823
Klamath2802
Hood River2480
Douglas2234
Clatsop2050
Josephine1972
Columbia1621
Coos1520
Baker922
Crook611
Tillamook520
Lake320
Curry310
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 803660

Reported Deaths: 15516
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2657756488
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino53669922
Orange529041204
San Diego46001775
Kern31785361
Fresno28106382
Sacramento22026402
Alameda21028404
Santa Clara20882306
San Joaquin20194441
Stanislaus16452348
Contra Costa16327204
Tulare15897259
Ventura12617147
Imperial11781317
San Francisco1103899
San Mateo9785150
Monterey977270
Santa Barbara9003113
Merced8846140
Kings763177
Sonoma7320120
Marin6672117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer354244
San Luis Obispo351029
Butte280343
Yolo278955
Santa Cruz23199
Sutter169611
Napa166113
San Benito133111
Yuba11437
El Dorado10984
Mendocino89918
Shasta77717
Lassen7370
Glenn5743
Tehama5404
Lake53411
Nevada5317
Colusa5276
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
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