The director for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, confirmed two additional cases of the novel coronavirus in the county Monday, including one that could be the first case of community transmission after no history of exposure could be determined.
“Community transmission is when we cannot identify a known source of exposure,” Ferrer said. “... With all of our cases, we are doing extensive investigations and identifying all of their close contacts. With both of these cases, to date we have identified no significant public exposures, but both of our new cases do have exposures to people who are known. ... The two cases are now in isolation and all of their close contacts are or will be quarantined for up to 14 days from their last date of exposure.”
The second patient reportedly had a history of travel to Japan, Dr. Ferrer said. In total, there are at least 16 cases locally in Southern California - with one of those cases have been fully resolved, Dr. Ferrer said.
“This would include avoiding non-essential travel, avoiding public gatherings or places where large groups of people are congregating and avoiding event venues,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer stressed the need for people who might feel sick to remain home and stay away from the public. She added that people who are pregnant, have underlying health conditions or are elderly should immediately begin using "social distancing practices,'' like avoiding unnecessary travel or gathering in large groups.
The other cases in L.A. County include:
- Eight people who'd recently 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;
- One person who attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference in Washington D.C.
- A traveler from the area of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. That person has since recovered.
All of the remaining patients are currently being held in isolation, health officials said. People who were in close contact with the known cases are being interviewed and "as appropriate they too will be subject to quarantine for up to 14 days from their last exposure to a confirmed case.”
Besides the one new possible case of community transmission, L.A. County health officials said all of the confirmed cases in L.A. County have been traced to an exposure source and there have been no known incidents of community transmission, Dr. Ferrer added. The county has also asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to handle an investigation into the LAX screeners who worked at the same quarantine station at the airport.
Ten students at Cal State Long Beach have self-isolated after they attended a "large event in Washington, D.C., at which three people subsequently tested positive for COVID- 19.” The university didn't specify whether the students attended the AIPAC conference. University officials say so far, none of the students have displayed symptoms of the disease, and health officials are monitoring them closely.
Meanwhile, Santa Clara county health officials announced Monday that
The virus has also taken its toll on several major events planned over the next few weeks in the Los Angeles area. Organizers with the Milken Institute Global Conference announced their event in early May would be rescheduled for July 7-10 at a venue to be announced.
The American Film Institute also postponed its annual Life Achievement Award gala meant to honor singer and actress Julie Andrews for later this summer.
At least 23 people have died in the United States from the novel coronavirus, with the global death toll surpassing 3,800 over the weekend.