US confirms 11th nCoV case; 82 awaiting test results

San Francisco International airport
San Francisco International airport

JHVEPhoto / iStock

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed in a press conference that the United States in recent days has tracked five new cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), including the second person-to-person transmission of the virus in a California couple.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) the two cases in San Benito County involve spouses, one of whom traveled to China and one who did not.

There are now 11 confirmed US cases of the viral disease, which originated in Wuhan, China, said Nancy Messonnier, MD, the director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Nine of those 11 case-patients had recently traveled to Wuhan, while 2 were close household contacts.

Messonnier said 167 specimens have tested negative, and the CDC is awaiting the results of another 82 suspected cases. California has six confirmed cases, Arizona and Illinois both have two cases, and Washington state and Massachusetts each have a single confirmed case.

"The virus will continue to expand, given the explosive nature we've seen in China," said Messonnier. "We are preparing as if this were the next epidemic."

Quarantine will be enforced 

Messonnier said the CDC will observe the presidential proclamation issued on Jan 31 that bans all foreign nationals coming to the country from China for the next 14 days, except for immediate family members of US citizens and naturalized citizens.

US travelers returning from Hubei, China, will be routed to one of 11 airports: New York-JFK, Chicago O'Hare, San Francisco International, Seattle-Tacoma, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, Honolulu, Detroit, Dulles, Los Angeles International, Newark International, or Dallas–Ft. Worth. There they will be screened for symptoms of 2019-nCoV. If symptomatic, they will be housed near the airport and quarantined for 14 days.

Over the weekend, the Department of Defense and the Pentagon approved a plan to use military housing for up to 1,000 returning travelers for the federal quarantine, CNN reported. 

"It is not possible that we will catch each case," Messonnier said. "The goal is to slow the spread of the virus within the US."

Messonnier also confirmed that the US State Department will charter more planes to evacuate Americans in Wuhan. The 195 Americans who arrived from Wuhan last week are still under federal quarantine on March Air Reserve Base in Ontario, California, the first federal quarantine in over half a century.

Test submitted for EUA

The CDC also said today they had submitted the diagnostic test currently being used at laboratories in CDC headquarters for and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Once the Food and Drug Administration grants an EUA, the test will be sent to state public health labs, Messonnier said.

See also:

Feb 2 CDPH announcement

CDC coronavirus page

Feb 1 CNN story

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