Health officials in Los Angeles Friday confirmed two additional cases of the novel coronavirus, including a second passenger-medical screener at LAX, bringing the county's total to 13.
According to the head of the county's health department, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the second case was another traveler who had recently visited northern Italy. That person was also a part of a group of travelers that resulted in seven previous positive test results for COVID-19.
People who develop mild illnesses are being encouraged to call their doctor, but avoid going to the hospital.
“You can call your doctor, particularly if you're a person with underlying health conditions or you're pregnant, but please don't just go in,” she said. “This is the time for us to make sure our medical professionals are able to treat those people with the most serious illnesses and not to have people with mild illness who actually don't need to see a clinician go into a health-care facility to have their questions answered.”
As of March 6, the thirteen cases in L.A. County include:
- Eight people who traveled to Italy
- Two contract employees who were conducting coronavirus medical screenings of arriving passengers at Los Angeles International Airport;
- Two relatives of a person who lives outside the county and was also confirmed with the virus; and
- A traveler from the area of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. That person, the county's first, has since recovered.
Ferrer added that all the currently known cases of coronavirus in L.A. County have been traced to an exposure source and no incident of community transmission have been recorded. All the patients are currently in isolation.
The risk of contracting the virus in L.A. County remains low, however, Ferrer once again stressed the need for people to practice good hygeine and for anyone who is feeling sick to stay home from school or work.
“We are going to reiterate our main messages, which is for the general public, your risk still remains low, although this is the time to start making sure you're practicing what we call good public health hygiene,” Ferrer said. “The primary message for everyone is to stay home when they're sick. The primary message for everyone, children and adults, is even with mild illness to please not circulate in the public, particularly don't go to schools and don't go into work.”
Photo: Getty Images