No Coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County

Officials sought to ease fears about a new virus spreading among travelers in China this week by confirming the disease had not reached Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) hosted a press briefing to provide an update on the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and the interagency work being done to identify and assess travelers who may have been exposed to the virus.

“A significant number of resources across Los Angeles County are focused on protecting the public’s health at large,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “To date, there have been no reported coronavirus cases in LA County and currently the risk of local transmission is low according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We will keep everyone informed as more information becomes available. We are urging the public to remain calm, as it is very unlikely that they are at risk of contracting this virus,” she added.

The CDC announced the first case in the United States on January 21, 2020. Recently, hundreds of cases of pneumonia associated with a novel coronavirus in Wuhan City have been identified.

Public Health will continue assisting the CDC to ensure that travelers who may have visited Wuhan City that have a fever or respiratory illness symptoms are appropriately screened, tested and receive care. Travelers who have visited Wuhan City who are not ill upon their arrival to the LA County are advised to contact a healthcare provider and seek care if they become ill while here. While there is no cure for this virus, hospital partners and clinical providers are able to test and care for ill travelers to minimize transmission and treatment for symptoms.

Health care professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control practices at all times. Public Health will continue to provide updated information about the diagnosis and management of cases of novel coronavirus to health care providers and all hospitals in the County in an effort to identify and contain any future cases.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning that they cause infections that usually exist exclusively in animals but can be transmitted to humans. However, some coronaviruses are also able to be transmitted from person to person, like SARS and MERS, while others are not.

While there is no specific cure for infections caused by the novel coronavirus, hospital partners and clinical providers are able to provide care for symptoms caused by the infection. Symptoms include: Fever, Cough and Difficulty breathing.

People who have traveled to Wuhan, China since December 1, 2019, could have been exposed to the virus. Seek medical care if you traveled to Wuhan and develop a fever and fever or respiratory symptoms within 14 days of your return. We want to underscore that there is no need to exclude anyone who has traveled to or from Wuhan City, or China in general, unless they are symptomatic, at which time they should seek a medical evaluation.

There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with this novel coronavirus, and investigations are ongoing in China and at least five other countries.

For more information about 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), visit our website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, or call 2-1-1.