Coronavirus case confirmed in California, takes US total to 13

Test tube with Corona virus name label is seen in this illustration taken on January 29 2020.
Test tube with Corona virus name label is seen in this illustration taken on January 29 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

The 13th case of coronavirus in the US was detected in California in a person under federal quarantine after returning from Wuhan, China, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday.

The adult patient was among US nationals evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the disease, who were under mandatory quarantine for 14 days at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, near San Diego, the CDC said in a statement.

The individual was taken to the University of California San Diego Medical Center for observation and isolation and is “doing well,” the hospital said in a statement.

“CDC is conducting a thorough contact investigation of the person who has tested positive to determine contacts and to assess if those contacts had high risk exposures,” the CDC said.

Some 800 US nationals have been evacuated from Wuhan and flown to airbases in the US where they are subject to the CDC’s first public health quarantine in 50 years.

The US has imposed mandatory quarantines and travel restrictions with China to slow the spread of coronavirus within the US. US officials fear a global pandemic if the virus is allowed to gain a foothold outside China, where the death toll has climbed to more than 1,000.

The latest individual diagnosed with coronavirus was the first confirmed case among some 800 US nationals evacuated to military bases in the US on flights from Wuhan, the epicentre of the disease.

The person was among four evacuees taken to the UC San Diego Medical Center for further evaluation past week after arriving at the Miramar airbase.

On Sunday the CDC said all four patients initially tested negative for the virus and were discharged and returned to quarantine at the base. Further testing showed one of the four was positive and the patient was returned to the hospital.

Another patient from MCAS Miramar was taken to the hospital on Monday for evaluation, the medical centre said.

“Both patients are doing well and have minimal symptoms,” the hospital said.

None of the coronavirus cases confirmed in the US has proved fatal and several patients have been released from hospital.

With most US-China flights suspended, only a handful of US nationals arriving on commercial flights have been quarantined under rules imposed on Feb. 2 to curb the virus's spread, according to a Reuters survey.

Of eight states with airports screening travellers for the virus, six said they had no-one under quarantine, New York reported four people and Illinois a “tiny” number, the survey found. (Reporting By Andrew Hay Editing by Kim Coghill, Robert Birsel)