U.S. Sees First Case Of “Community Spread” Coronavirus
The United States has now seen “community spread” of the coronavirus for the first time after a patient who has no history of travel to the outbreak hotspots or exposure to someone already infected has tested positive for the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case on Wednesday, indicating it remains unknown where the patient was exposed to the virus.
According to Technology Review, the patient was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, on February 19 from another hospital, receiving the coronavirus diagnosis four days later.
The hospital said in a statement that the patient was under “strict contact precautions,” adding that it believes there “has been minimal potential for exposure here at UC Davis Medical Center.” As a precaution, a small number of hospital staff were asked to stay home and monitor their temperatures, the statement said.
Technology Review noted that while health experts are aware that coronavirus is highly contagious, it remains unclear precisely how it spreads person-to-person. “This new ‘community spread’ case reveals gaps in testing capability in the US that could hamper efforts to slow the spread of the virus,” the publication wrote. “Currently, only the CDC and a few local public health agencies have the ability to administer the tests.”
There are now 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and of that number, 43 were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.