Possible case of community spread of COVID-19 in U.S., CDC confirms

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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. According to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, a wide share of Americans are at least moderately confident in U.S. health officials’ ability to handle emerging viruses, and more express concern about catching the flu than catching the new coronavirus. (NIAID-RML via AP)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 in California in a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19.

At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown.  It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19– spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. That would make this the first time community spread has happened in the United States. It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected.

This case was detected through the U.S. public health system — picked up by astute clinicians. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States to 15.

The California Department of Public Health said the individual is a resident of Solano County and is receiving medical care in Sacramento County.

“Keeping Californians safe and healthy is our number one priority,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer. “This has been an evolving situation, which California has been monitoring and responding to since COVID-19 cases first emerged in China last year. This is a new virus, and while we are still learning about it, there is a lot we already know. We have been anticipating the potential for such a case in the U.S., and given our close familial, social and business relationships with China, it is not unexpected that the first case in the U.S. would be in California. That’s why California has been working closely with federal and local partners, including health care providers and hospitals, since the outbreak was first reported in China — and we are already responding.”

 For more information about COVID-19 visit www.cdc.gov/covid19

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