Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is cooperating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep track cases of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.
Since December 2019, Chinese authorities have identified thousands of cases, and hundreds of deaths, associated with this virus, which is called "novel" because it is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness. Common symptoms in an infected person include a fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
As of February 8, 2020, the L.A. County Dept. of Public Health knows of only 12 cases of novel infections across the entire United States. Only one of these cases was identified in Los Angeles County, in a non-resident traveler from Wuhan who transited through LAX in Los Angeles County. This person was immediately transferred to a local hospital and according to the Dept. of Public Health there has been no subsequent community transmission of the virus.
Despite this case in Los Angeles County, the Dept. of Public Health wants to reassure the public that there is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness.
It recommends that Los Angeles County residents, students, workers, and visitors continue to engage in their regular activities and practice simple health and hygiene, such as:
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Limiting close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
The Dept. of Public Health also urges everyone to check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus:
Additional Information about the Coronavirus from the Dept. of Public Health - Flyer | FAQ Sheet