February 25, 2020
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) continues to take steps to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. The health and wellbeing of the community remains Public Health's top priority. In LA County, as in counties across the U.S., the threat to the general public for contracting coronavirus remains low.
Although LA County only has one confirmed case of novel coronavirus in a traveler from Wuhan, and there are only 15 additional cases diagnosed across the United States, there continues to be a significant increase in the number of people infected with this virus in China (over 77,000 cases as of today), and isolated evidence that there can be transmission from an asymptomatic person. As a result of the deteriorating situation in China, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency to allow local, state, and federal officials to fully coordinate responses in partnership with public health departments, emergency management teams, airports, health care professionals, and first responders. Late Friday, the White House issued a set of new directives that include the following:
- Restricting all foreign nationals who have traveled or been in China the last 14 days to enter the U.S. This order can be renewed by the President every 14 days.
- Requiring all U.S. citizens and their close family members returning from China to enter through one of eleven airports in the U.S. (including LAX), where they will be screened by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. If travelers are showing signs of respiratory illness, they will be sent for additional testing to a health care facility. Those that were in the Hubei Province at any time in the past 14 days will be quarantined at a secure location and monitored for illness for 14 days from their last exposure. Returning travelers from other places in China who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus may also be subject to a quarantine for 14 days from last exposure. Returning travelers from all other parts of China who have not been in close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus will be allowed to travel to their final destination where they will be monitored by their local public health department and asked to remain in their homes and avoid public places for 14 days from last exposure.
In LA County, as in counties across the U.S., the threat to the general public for contracting novel coronavirus remains low. Public Health will be working with the state and federal government to implement the new directives to contain the virus and is taking the following actions:
- Assisting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the safe transport of travelers arriving in LAX from China who need to be quarantined; such travelers will be isolated at the quarantine station at LAX and then safely transported to and quarantined at a military base in Riverside County where they will be monitored and supported by personnel at the base.
- Updating and distributing guidance to local healthcare providers around screening and treating people with suspected cases of novel coronavirus.
- Working with schools, colleges and universities to ensure compliance with new guidance from CDC that excludes newly arriving travelers from China from public settings, including schools, for 14 days from their last exposure.
- Providing accurate information to community residents through multi-lingual communications using print, radio, tv and social media outlets as well as delivering packets of fact sheets about novel coronavirus to over 800 community-based organizations.
- Establishing protocols for monitoring the health of U.S. citizens and their family members returning from China who are in LA County and need to remain in their homes for up to 14 days; this includes making sure they receive appropriate services and testing should they become ill within 14 days of last exposure.
- Continued monitoring of all people identified as close contacts of any confirmed cases to assess health status, and, where appropriate, issue exclusion requirements in accordance with CDC directives.
Accurate information, including announcements of new cases in LA County, will always be distributed by Public Health through official channels in the form of a press release and will also be available on the Public Health website http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov and social media accounts @lapublichealth.
For more information about 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and the World Health Organization website at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 or call 2-1-1.
January 30, 2020
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Los Angeles County. The infected person presented themselves for care once they noticed that they were not feeling well and is currently receiving medical treatment. There is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness. Los Angeles residents, students, workers, and visitors should continue to engage in their regular activities and practice good public health hygiene as this is the height of flu season across the County. Public Health is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal, state and local agencies to monitor this novel coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan, China over the past few weeks. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
Additional information about the case:
- This person is a returning traveler from Wuhan City, China.
- The person has been confirmed to have this new strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by the CDC.
- The person is currently receiving appropriate care at a local hospital. In order to protect patient privacy/confidentiality, Public Health is not releasing the location.
- Public Health officials are working to identify persons who may have had close personal contact with this individual, including any friends, family members or health care professionals, to monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness and to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
This is the only case of 2019 novel coronavirus in LA County. There are currently 11 cases in the United States.
Public Health issued multiple health advisories beginning in early January informing local healthcare providers in LA County of the current situation. Public Health will continue to provide updates and work with local healthcare providers as the situation evolves.
“LA County is well prepared to manage cases and suspected cases of novel coronavirus. We are working closely with our federal, state and local partners to provide healthcare providers and the public with accurate information about actions we are taking to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus and to care for those who are ill. As with other respiratory illnesses, there are steps that everyone can take to reduce the risk of getting sick from circulating viruses, including coronavirus. This includes remaining home when ill, washing hands with soap and water frequently, and getting vaccinated against flu,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Because novel coronavirus is new, we are learning more each day about transmission patterns and incubation periods. We will keep everyone informed as more information becomes available. The risk of transmission of coronavirus in LA County remains low,” she added.
“Public Health, in collaboration with local healthcare, state, and federal agencies, including the California Department of Public Health and CDC, proactively trains for these scenarios and has protocols in place to protect both local communities and healthcare workers,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Health Officer, Los Angeles County. “We have a strong public health and health care system committed to protecting our communities.”
Health care professionals are reminded to use appropriate 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 and relevant partners to both identify and contain any future cases.
For more information about 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), visit LA County's Department of Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.