Cases of COVID-19 reported in multiple areas of the US early March. Risk to public is low. Use basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Orange County, California
  • Everett, Washington
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Santa Clara, California
  • Anaheim

This alert began 01 Mar 2020 22:44 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), limited local transmission
  • Location(s): Multiple areas (map)
  • Period: January-March 2020
  • Cases: 29

Summary
US authorities have identified 29 presumptive positive and confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) according to data through March 1. Rhode Island reported its first presumptive positive case March 1 in an individual returning to Pawtucket from a trip to Europe, where localized outbreaks have been reported. Oregon also identified its first case; the individual is hospitalized in isolation in Hillsboro. Health officials in the state of Washington reported two new cases March 1, bringing the state's total to eight confirmed cases. Authorities will likely identify additional cases in Washington during the coming weeks, as there is an outbreak associated with healthcare workers and patients at long-term care facility.

Confirmed and presumptive positive cases have been identified in:

  • Arizona: Maricopa County
  • California: Humboldt, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Benito, San Diego, Santa Clara, Orange, and Yolo counties.
  • Illinois: Chicago, Cook County
  • Massachusetts: Boston, Suffolk County
  • Oregon: Hillsboro, Washington County
  • Rhode Island: Pawtucket, Providence County
  • Texas: San Antonio, Bexar County
  • Washington State: King and Snohomish counties
  • Wisconsin: Madison County


All individuals are receiving treatment in isolation until their symptoms resolve. The risk to the public remains low. This represents the latest case count as of March 1.

Background and Analysis
Prior indication of a suspected case in Washington, D.C. has still not been confirmed; it remains unclear whether the suspected case remained in Washington, D.C. or was transferred elsewhere. Therefore, mention of this case in Washington, DC and the potential for transport to an appropriate isolation facility in Maryland has been removed. Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. Preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as severe as seasonal influenza, nor as contagious.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base

US CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers

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