Santa Clara County health officials Friday afternoon announced the Bay Area’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus that has alarmed health officials around the world, saying it sickened a local man after he returned a week earlier from traveling in China where the disease originated.
County Health Officer Sara Cody said the man recently traveled to Wuhan, China, and returned Jan. 24 to Mineta San Jose International Airport and then first showed symptoms after getting home. He is the Bay Area’s first confirmed case and the seventh in the United States, Cody said Friday.
But fortunately, Cody said, the man never became sick enough to require hospitalization, has had contact with few people and has been “self-isolating” at home since returning, leaving only left to seek outpatient medical treatment on two occasions. Cody said the county is monitoring his family members and others with whom he came in contact.
“We understand that this news may be concerning,” Cody said. “But based on what we know today, the risk to residents of our community remains low.”
Cody declined to say where the man lives, how old he is, how many family members had contact with him or where he sought treatment.
Cody emphasized that there is no evidence that the virus is spreading anywhere in the county, Bay Area or Northern California.
The man has had limited contact with other people, and health officials are contacting all of them and have them stay at home for 14 days, Cody said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the man who lives somewhere in the county has the virus, according to a news release from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
No confirmed cases have been reported in the Bay Area as of Friday, health officials said.
Concerns about coronavirus — which originated in Wuhan, China — have spread through the Bay Area this week as more than 9,000 people have become ill in China. Over 200 people have died, mostly in the Hubei Province.
Two confirmed coronavirus cases in California, one in Los Angeles and one in Orange County, are being closely monitored.
On Thursday, officials confirmed the first person-to-person spread of coronavirus in the United States in Chicago, raising the nation’s total number of cases to six. The Santa Clara County man becomes the country’s seventh case.
Earlier this week, Santa Clara County ramped up its Emergency Operations Center — activated last Wednesday — and reassigned about two dozen staff to the center. Alameda and San Francisco counties have also activated operations centers.
Check back for updates.
If you feel sick: If you were in China in the last 14 days, or are the close friend or family member of someone who has been in China in the last 14 days, and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:
- 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.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.