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Visitor to Orange County tests positive for coronavirus, first case in southland

Posted at 7:08 AM, Jan 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-26 13:56:15-05

SANTA ANA (CNS) - California's first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Orange County after a traveler from Wuhan, China -- ground zero for the deadly disease -- tested positive, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

That patient -- man in his 50s -- was taken to a local hospital, is in isolation and in good condition, according to a written statement from the agency.

At 11 p.m. Saturday, the HCA announced that its Communicable Disease Control Division received confirmation from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the case, and that the traveler "has been provided guidance to reduce exposure to the public while awaiting laboratory confirmation.''

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In consultation with the CDC and the California Department of Public Health, Orange County health officials are now contacting people who have had close contact with the patient, which could put them at risk of infection.

The agency said it will also monitor any close contacts the patient has had and assure that proper evaluation and care is provided if someone becomes ill. It was the first case of the disease reported in California.

On Sunday, however, a case was confirmed in Los Angeles County, bringing the total to four in the United States so far. The other U.S. cases were reported in Illinois and Washington state.

The outbreak was first noted in late December in the industrial city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of central China. Since then, more than 2,000 cases have been reported in China, with at least 56 deaths.

The CDC's guidance indicates people who have casual contact with a case -- "in the same grocery store or movie theater'' -- are at "minimal risk of developing infection.''

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It was not disclosed where and how the California traveler entered into the country or into Orange County.

The HCA said there is no evidence that person-to-person transmission has occurred in Orange County and the current risk of local transmission remains low.

No additional details about the case will be released, according to the HCA. For general information about novel coronavirus, go to or

The San Diego International Airport also sent 10News a statement about how they're monitoring the situation. Read the statement below:

San Diego International Airport is monitoring ongoing developments with the corona virus, and is in close contact with the CDC. At this time, we have not received any instructions from CDC or County Health to screen passengers for the virus.

The CDC has provided SAN with specific guidance to help local EMS providers responding to medical calls at the airport assess and identify potentially infected travelers.

Further, although SAN has no direct flights from China, in collaboration with CDC and CBP, we have posted an informational graphic on monitors in the International Arrivals facility that educates passengers on steps they can take if they have recently traveled to China and are feeling sick.