JANUARY 29, 2020
Message from Congresswoman Judy Chu
I care about the health of our families and communities. That is why, with the news of confirmed coronavirus cases within Los Angeles County, I'd like to share some timely resources on how to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers the coronavirus to be a serious public health threat. It is important that you are aware of the disease and the efforts necessary to prevent its spread.
It is confirmed that the coronavirus can be spread directly between humans. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you have visited China within the past 2 weeks and start to feel ill, call your doctor.
There is currently no vaccine to fight this strain of coronavirus. However, below are steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Wear a face mask
- It is currently the flu season, so please get your flu vaccine if you haven't already
The State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory warning people to avoid traveling to Wuhan and Hubei province. They have also issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory warning people to reconsider all travel to China. If you are still planning travel to China, I encourage you to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive important messages, alerts, updates, and travel advisories while you are there.
In order to contain the spread of the disease into the United States, public health officials have been working diligently to screen passengers flying from China into Los Angeles International Airport and Ontario International Airport. This week, I signed a bipartisan letter to the Secretaries of State and Health and Human Services requesting more information on quarantine procedures and protecting public health.
Experts have been working hard to understand this new strain of coronavirus. Because new information is coming out every day, please visit the sites below to stay up to date.
- The Centers for Disease Control provides updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.
- Los Angeles County provides updates on the disease's spread within the County, as well as frequently asked questions available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.
- The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.
JANUARY 29, 2020
Update from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is cooperating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to recent reports of a novel (new) coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others that circulate mostly among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Common symptoms in an infected person include a fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Since December 2019, Chinese authorities preliminarily identified more than 2,000 human infections, including 56 deaths as of January 26, associated with this novel (new) coronavirus in an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. In addition, novel coronavirus infections have been confirmed in numerous travelers who traveled to or came from Wuhan City, including four travelers in the United States located in Arizona, Washington State, Chicago, Orange County and Los Angeles County.
Despite this case in Los Angeles County, 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 County 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. The risk from the novel coronavirus 2019 to spread in Los Angeles County residents is deemed to be low at this time.
Because this is a new virus that we know little about, and person to person spread has been confirmed, on January 18, the CDC is continuing screening of travelers from Wuhan City at JFK airport in NYC, SFO airport in San Francisco, and LAX airport in Los Angeles, as well as ATL airport in Atlanta and ORD airport in Chicago. These airports were selected because they are the initial U.S. destinations for the vast majority of travelers from Wuhan City.
Public Health staff is assisting the CDC to ensure that travelers from Wuhan City that have a fever or respiratory illness symptoms upon arrival to LAX are appropriately screened, tested and receive care. Travelers from Wuhan City who are not ill upon arrival are being provided with a card that includes information on symptoms and advised to seek care if they become ill while visiting LA County. While there is no cure for this virus, our hospital partners and clinical providers will be able to test and care for ill travelers to minimize transmission and severe illness. Public Health issued a new health advisory informing local healthcare providers in LA County of the current situation on January 17, 2020. Our team from Acute Communicable Disease Control (ACDC) will continue providing updates and working with local healthcare providers as the situation evolves.
While there is much more to learn about the severity and other features associated with this novel coronavirus, and investigations are ongoing in China, based on current information, the risk from the novel coronavirus 2019 to spread in Los Angeles County residents is deemed to be low at this time.
If you or someone you know is planning on traveling to Wuhan, the following are important steps to take:
- Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
If you or someone you know has traveled to Wuhan and feel sick, please:
- Stay home and avoid contact with others, except for seeking medical care.
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
For more information about 2019 novel coronavirus (2019- nCoV), visit the Public Health Communications website at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/ and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
JANUARY 26, 2020
Public Health Confirms First Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Los Angeles County
LOS ANGELES – 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 spread of the virus.
This is the only cases of 2019 novel coronavirus in LA County. There are currently 4 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 the Public Health Communications website at www.publichea lth.lacounty.gov and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
JANUARY 24, 2020
A Message from San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda
No doubt many of you have heard by now of a respiratory illness – the Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV – that first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread. Today I participated in a conference call for medical, governmental and emergency responders that was organized by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in regard to this situation, and I’d like to share with you some background and some information about steps we are taking. Please be assured that the well-being of residents is the top priority for the City of San Marino.
The 2019-nCoV is a coronavirus strain that has not previously been found in humans. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Most of those infected have reported exposure at a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. But there is also evidence of human-to-human transmission, though the ease of human-to-human transmission has not yet been fully clarified. Several hundred cases have been confirmed, mostly in the Wuhan region, but elsewhere too, including among people who have traveled internationally from China. So far there are no known cases of 2019-nCov in Los Angeles County.
Steps We Are Taking
Information Release & Future Updates: Respiratory illnesses are common at this time of year; local medical professionals and emergency responders have well-established protocols for dealing with such illnesses, and there will be a heightened emphasis on determining travel histories and contacts for those presenting with respiratory illnesses. We have been and will continue to be in touch with health authorities. We will continue to update the City’s website as new information or developments emerge. However, if you would like information concerning this virus, it can be obtained from www.publichealth.lacounty.gov or 211.
Outreach: The steps we have taken so far are consistent with the recommendations of health authorities. We will continue to inform residents and ask them to monitor themselves for the symptoms associated with the Novel Coronavirus. Should medical attention be needed, we ask that residents contact medical professionals if they exhibit any symptoms and have been in contact with anyone traveling from the Wuhan region.
It is important to know that only a person with symptoms present a risk. There is no reason to ban any individuals from any public contacts, public events, or school that have traveled from Wuhan City, China and are not exhibiting any symptoms. Any symptomatic patient should be referred to medical treatment.
I know news reporting about emerging communicable illnesses can be upsetting. However, I would like to urge residents to be calm. Health authorities throughout the world are focused on this illness, and City staff is closely following developments, is working closely with health authorities to make well informed decisions, and is committed to protecting the health of the San Marino community.