Coronavirus presents low risk in Bay Area, Alameda County health official says

Bay Area

ALAMEDA COUNTY (KRON) — Containment of the coronavirus is now a top concern as the City of Wuhan is on a travel lockdown.

No trains or planes can go in or out.

The Centers for Disease Control says it’s received items for testing from several people in the U.S. for the coronavirus.

The focus here is to form a proactive response.

“There is very low risk to people in the Bay Area and we are monitoring it closely,” said Dr. Erica Pan with the Alameda County Health Department.

Pan says all Bay Area health departments were on a conference call Wednesday to prepare for what to do when a person with coronavirus comes to the Bay Area, including how to screen, possibly quarantine and get testing done quickly.

“I might live in one place, work in another. My child might be in daycare or school in another jurisdiction, of course diseases don’t know those borders, so we try to be as consistent as possible,” Pan said.

The last time there was a major coordination like this here was when the measles outbreak took center stage.

Airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City are all screening passengers.

Now Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport join the list.

Scientists are also trying to create a vaccine to stop the virus from spreading.

“If you have traveled to Wuhan or been in close contact with someone from Wihan or who’s been suspected to have this virus and you have symptoms, seek medical care and also make sure the medical care is coordinated with the local health department,” Dr. Pan said. 

The illnesses from a newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, and the vast majority of mainland China’s 571 cases have been in the city. Other cases have been reported in the Thailand, the United States, Japan and South Korea. One case was confirmed in the southern Chinese territory of Hong Kong after one was earlier confirmed in Macao. Most were people from Wuhan or had recently traveled there.

A total of 17 people have died, all of them in and around Wuhan. Among the victims, the average age was 73, with the oldest aged 89 and the youngest 48.

The significant increase in illnesses reported just this week come as millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year, one of the world’s largest annual migrations of people.

The China health authority announced Wednesday night the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Hong Kong

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