Health

3rd U.S. Case of Wuhan Coronavirus Confirmed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's headquarters in Atlanta.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's headquarters in Atlanta.
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

A patient in Orange County, Calif., has tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, marking the third confirmed case of the new infectious disease in the U.S., according to the OC Health Care Agency.

County health officials say the new U.S. case involves a traveler from Wuhan, the central Chinese city of 11 million that has been the epicenter of the outbreak. They said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case Saturday, and the patient is now in isolation in good condition at a local hospital.

The health agency said in a statement that officials will continue to monitor people who have had close contact with the patient. But the agency added that there is no evidence that there has been person-to-person transmission of coronavirus in Orange County and that the risk of local transmission remains low.

The other two U.S. cases involve a woman in her 60s in Chicago, reported Friday, and a man in his 30s in the Seattle area, reported Tuesday. In all three cases, the patients had previously traveled to Wuhan.

The CDC said last week that it has mobilized an aggressive response to the outbreak aimed at identifying and diagnosing any cases early and preventing the spread of the virus in the United States. While the CDC says it's not yet clear how easily the virus is transmitted from person to person, it says the risk in the U.S. remains low.

China reported 688 new cases on Sunday from the previous day, bringing the country's total number of cases to 1,975, including 56 deaths.

At least 36 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed outside China, including in France, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Nepal, Hong Kong and Australia.

The U.S. State Department said Saturday that it is pulling government workers and their family members out of Wuhan because of the impacts from the coronavirus outbreak. A U.S. Embassy spokesperson told NPR that "logistical disruptions stemming from restricted transportation and overwhelmed hospitals in the city of Wuhan" contributed to the decision. The State Department this week issued a "Do not travel" advisory for Hubei province.

Travel restrictions have been put in place in multiple major cities in China, grounding planes and trains and blocking roads and tunnels. Large public gatherings have been banned, and major tourist attractions, including Beijing's Forbidden City and Shanghai Disneyland, are closed. Health officials are trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus during the country's biggest travel holiday, the Lunar New Year.

The infectious disease was discovered from a cluster of pneumonia outbreaks in Wuhan. The city is a major transportation hub in China, with trains that run throughout the country as well as an international airport.

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