At least nine people are being tested for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in a northern California county, health officials said.
Officials with the Alameda County Health Department told KRON4 that there are no confirmed cases out of the nine-plus people showing symptoms.
The patients either traveled to Wuhan, China, within the past 14 days or were in contact with someone else who was exposed to the virus.
The virus, also known as the Wuhan coronavirus, started spreading in the Chinese city last month. It has since spread to at least six other countries, including the United States.
Health officials said the patients had a high fever and a cough and that samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.
Officials told NBC that fewer than 10 people were being tested for coronavirus.
“We started receiving reports of potential cases and we have investigated those and if there have been a situation where they meet criteria for exposure and symptoms we have some of those for testing,” Alameda County Public Health Director Erica Pan said. Criteria include the travel to Wuhan or exposure to confirmed cases.
Patients who are entering local hospitals were told to put on masks if they recently traveled to Wuhan.
In a guidance checklist (pdf) released for health workers managing patients who might have the Novel Coronavirus, the department said that anyone reporting a “fever, (T >100.4 F or >38 C), lower respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and travel to Wuhan City, China within 14 days prior to illness” should be immediately placed in a negative pressure airborne isolation room.
Samples should be tested from three different categories, including lower respiratory, upper respiratory, and serum.
The sole confirmed case in America is in Washington state, north of California. That patient is a male in his 30s who traveled to Wuhan.
In California, a sick person who landed on Wednesday was taken for medical treatment after displaying flu-like symptoms. Officials didn’t say where the patient traveled apart from noting he or she flew in from Mexico City.
The coronavirus death toll in China has steadily climbed as it also reached more regions and provinces of China.
Officials in China have locked down 13 cities in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. Public transportation has been shut down and people were told not to leave unless they had special circumstances. In at least some cities, airports were closed to outbound travel.