The Center for Disease Control has confirmed the first likely case of a person-to-person transmission of novel coronavirus in the United States on Wednesday, and the person infected with the disease is a Solano County resident receiving treatment in Sacramento, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The Solano County resident had no known exposure to the virus through travel and no close contact to a known-infected individual, CDPH officials said. They won’t be identified due to patient confidentiality practices.
UC Davis Medical Center officials confirmed the patient is being treated at their Sacramento hospital late Wednesday after being transferred from another hospital in the region. UC Davis officials said the patient wasn’t immediately tested for the disease. “Since the patient arrived with a suspected viral infection, our care teams have been taking the proper infection prevention (contact droplet) precautions during the patient’s stay,” UC Davis Health officials said in a statement Wednesday.
“Upon admission, our team asked public health officials if this case could be COVID-19. We requested COVID-19 testing by the CDC, since neither Sacramento County nor CDPH is doing testing for coronavirus at this time. Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered. UC Davis Health does not control the testing process.”
An exact date of admission for the patient wasn’t provided, but they were tested for the disease early this week. “On Sunday, the CDC ordered COVID-19 testing of the patient and the patient was put on airborne precautions and strict contact precautions, because of our concerns about the patient’s condition,” UC Davis Health officials said. “Today the CDC confirmed the patient’s test was positive.”
UC Davis Health officials said it is not the first COVID-19 patient the system has treated and the potential for spread is minimal due to precautions set into place at the hospital. CDPH officials touted the state’s health care system and infrastructure in saying it is ready to respond to a spread of COVID-19, which originated from Whuan, China and spread throughout Asia before finding its way across the globe, reaching every continent except Antarctica, per the CDC’s website.
“The health risk from novel coronavirus to the general public remains low at this time,” CDPH officials said. “While COVID-19 has a high transmission rate, it has a low mortality rate. From the international data we have, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80 percent do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization.” As of Thursday morning, there are no confirmed deaths of the disease in the U.S., CDPH officials said.
Previous person-to-person transmission cases in the U.S. have been discovered in Chicago and another in San Benito County, with both cases involving infected people with family members who had returned from Wuhan and tested positive for COVID-19. There are also 7 other travel-related cases and a close-contact case in California as of Wednesday.
The CDPH advises community members to do the following to protect themselves from contracting or spreading disease: washing hands with soap and water; avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.