Calaveras County Public Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita gave an update on the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus to county supervisors on Tuesday morning.
Originating in Wuhan, China in December of 2019, the respiratory illness has killed 106 people in China, and there are more than 4,565 cases in 16 countries, Kelaita said. Five of those cases are in the United States, and two are in California.
“It’s gotten to the point now where there’s some degree of person-to-person transmission that’s now occurring we know,” Kelaita said. “The important thing is that all of the cases that have been confirmed in California and the U.S. are in people who have had a travel history to China. So there’s been no person-to-person transmission that’s occurred locally here in the United States.”
The Calaveras County Public Health Department has sent information to local hospitals and the medical community about surveillance for suspect cases and how to take a travel history in people who show up sick with the fever, have respiratory systems and have traveled to Wuhan, China within 14 days.
The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security are monitoring traffic through airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta for people traveling from China with coronavirus symptoms.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation and our local health department is working with our state and federal partners to ensure the safety of the residents of Calaveras County from this,” Kelaita said.
Symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell, according to the CDC.
If experiencing these symptoms, patients are encouraged to tell their healthcare provider about any recent travel or contact with animals.
Although the coronavirus should be taken seriously, multiple reports have come out in recent days ascertaining that the influenza virus poses a greater threat to U.S. citizens. An estimated 8,200 people have died from the flu in the U.S. in the 2018/2019 season, according to the CDC.
For more information about the coronavirus, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/index.html.
For a Washington Post map tracking the spread of the coronavirus, click here.