Fewer than 10 people being tested for coronavirus in Alameda County

Bay Area

ALAMEDA COUNTY (KRON) — Fewer than 10 people are being tested for the deadly coronavirus in Alameda County, according to health officials.

The Alameda County Health Department told KRON4 there are no confirmed cases at this time.

Health officials are not releasing an exact number of how many patients are being tested but said the number is less than 10.

Officials say the patients have either traveled to Wuhan, China within the past 14 days or have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to the virus.

The patients have also had a high fever and a cough, officials said.

The health department stressed that this does not mean they have the virus or will get the virus.

Nita Madhav is the CEO of Metabiota. The San Francisco based company specializes in risk assessments of outbreaks.

Madhav said some concerns are warranted but they’re mostly limited to those who are near the Chinese city of Wuhan or have been in direct contact with people who have been exposed.

“The general public at this point it doesn’t appear to be as much of a concern,” she said.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declined to declare the new outbreak as a global emergency. However, Madhav said that does not mean it will not become one. 

The patients’ lab work is being sent to the CDC in Atlanta for further testing.

Hundreds of people infected with the new virus have fallen ill in China, and 25 have died.

The first cases appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China.

The first case of the coronavirus in the United States was reported in Washington state.

The U.S. citizen had returned to the Seattle area in the middle of last week after traveling to Wuhan, according to the CDC.

Earlier this week several major U.S. airports including San Francisco International Airport had begun screening airline passengers arriving from central China for the virus.

So far, experts say the virus appears to be not as dangerous and infectious as SARS, the virus that also started in China and killed about 800 people.

But viruses can mutate and become more dangerous and contagious.

“I think based on looking at previous similar outbreaks this could last for some time,” Madhav said.

Chinese authorities Thursday moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus.


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