(AP) - Health officials have confirmed the second case of novel coronavirus in the United States believed to have been transmitted to a person who didn’t travel internationally or come in close contact with anyone who had it.
A woman wearing a mask walks past an elementary school in Tokyo, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. Japan will close schools nationwide to help control the spread of the new virus, the government announced Thursday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that officials are “aware of a second possible instance of community spread of COVID-19 in California."
Santa Clara County health officials said the patient is an older adult woman with chronic health conditions.
She is not known to have traveled to an area with many infections or to Solano County where Thursday’s case originated.
Residents in Northern California are at the epicenter of what officials are calling a turning point in the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus in the U.S.
Investigators are rushing to retrace the steps of a patient they believe to be the first known person in the U.S. to be infected without traveling internationally or being in close contact with anyone who had it.
The woman first went to the hospital in Vacaville, between San Francisco and Sacramento.
Oregon has 1st coronavirus case: elementary school employee
Oregon's first corinavirus case emerged on Friday.
The infected person worked at an elementary school in the Portland area, which will be closed for three days.
The Lake Oswego School District sent robocalls to parents saying that Forest Hills Elementary school will be closed until Wednesday, and will be deep cleaned by maintenance workers.
State health authorities planned to spend the weekend trying to find everyone the unidentified person, who was in a hospital, had been in contact with.
Hours before the case emerged, the state ramped up efforts to combat an outbreak amid potential challenges including closing schools, businesses and events, and sustained shortages of medical supplies.
States to get test kits as White House amps up virus effort
Federal health officials say they're scrambling to get coronavirus testing up and running in every state. And the Trump administration may invoke a 70-year-old law to guarantee a range of needed supplies.
Two days after the White House shifted gears from Trump's initial assurances of minimal fallout to a mobilization under Vice President Mike Pence, the administration's messaging still isn't completely seamless.
The count of U.S. cases grew to 62 on Friday, with two more passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship testing positive.
Congress is working on a spending bill for anti-virus efforts to be unveiled next week.
Feds won't put quarantined passengers in Southern California
The federal government says it won’t try to move dozens of cruise ship passengers quarantined because of coronavirus fears to a facility in densely populated Southern California.
State health officials say they were informed Friday that the government won't be moving people from the Diamond Princess from an Air Force base in California to a facility in Costa Mesa, which had argued they posed a potential health threat in the Orange County area.
A judge had temporarily barred the transfer and scheduled a hearing next week to rule on the matter.
US reports first drug shortage tied to virus outbreak
The Food and Drug Administration is reporting the first U.S. drug shortage tied to the viral outbreak that began in China.
The agency said late Thursday that the maker of the drug contacted health officials recently about the shortage.
Officials declined to identify the manufacturer or the product.
China ranks second among countries that export drugs and biotech medicines to the U.S.
The agency says there are currently no U.S. shortages of biotech products, medical devices or other key health care products tied to the outbreak.
US schools start planning for possible spread of coronavirus
Schools across the United States are canceling trips abroad, preparing online lessons and even rethinking “perfect attendance” awards as they brace for the possibility that the new coronavirus could begin spreading in their communities.
Districts are rushing to update emergency plans after federal officials warned that the virus, which started in China, is almost certain to begin spreading in the U.S.
Many are preparing for possible school closures that could stretch weeks or longer, even as they work to tamp down panic among students, parents and teachers.
School letters sent home from Florida to California seek to assure parents the risk is still very low.
Whistleblower: Feds helping evacuees lacked virus protection
The Department of Health and Human Services says it’s “evaluating” a government whistleblower’s complaint alleging federal workers did not have the necessary protective gear or training when they were deployed to help victims of the coronavirus.
The complaint deals with HHS employees sent to Travis and March Air Force bases in California to assist evacuees from China.
Democratic congressman Jimmy Gomez of California says the whistleblower recently contacted his office and alleged retaliation by higher-ups for having flagged safety issues.
HHS says it takes all whistleblower complaints “very seriously” and is providing the complainant “all appropriate protections under the Whistleblower Protection Act.”
Cruise ship sails to St. Maarten after COVID-19 scare
A British cruise ship turned away by the Dominican Republic after passengers suffered flu-like symptoms is awaiting approval to dock on the Dutch island of St. Maarten.
Dominican officials said they barred the Braemar from the Romana cruise port after its captain reported four Filipinos, two British citizens and two U.S. citizens under medical observation after displaying symptoms such as fever, coughing, or breathing difficulty.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said it had reported “a small number of influenza-like cases on board," but they didn’t appear linked to coronavirus and the patients had recovered.
USOPC relying on facts and planning to deal with Coronavirus
Managers at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have coronavirus on their minds.
They’ve been gathering information from the individual sports, trying to figure out what events are being affected and what others could be in the future.
With the Tokyo Games set for July, the USOPC insists there are no backup plans being made. But the information is good to have with the Olympic qualifying season gearing up.
For instance, six athletes will punch their ticket to Tokyo on Saturday at the U.S. marathon trials.
Italy tries a return to some normalcy after virus closures
Italian authorities have decided to reopen schools and museums in some of the areas less hard-hit by the coronavirus outbreak, in which Italy has the most cases outside of Asia.
The governor of hard-hit Veneto says the aim on Friday is to return to normalcy as soon as possible.
The majority of Italy’s cases, numbering at least 821, are in the populous northern region of Lombardy.
The Italian government planned to huddle Friday evening to decide measures to ease economic damage in the country, which could be pushed into recession by the outbreak’s repercussions.
Mexico confirms first 2 cases of coronavirus
Mexico’s assistant health secretary says the country now has two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
Hugo Lopez-Gatell said Friday that one of the patients is in Mexico City and the other in the northern state of Sinaloa, and neither is seriously ill.
At least five family contacts have been placed in isolation. He said that one of the men had contact with someone who had traveled to the northern Italian region where that country has seen a local outbreak.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador appeared to downplay the seriousness of the Covid-19 virus, saying “it isn’t even equivalent to influenza.”
New Zealand reports first virus patient; case linked to Iran
New Zealand has it’s first confirmed case of the new coronavirus after it was contracted by a person in their 60s who recently returned from Iran.
Health officials say the results of a test came through positive on Friday afternoon. The person is being treated at the Auckland City Hospital and the person’s household members have also been isolated as a precaution.
Authorities are asking anyone who took an Emirates flight that landed in Auckland on Wednesday to contact health experts if they have any concerns.
Nigeria confirms coronavirus, first in sub-Saharan Africa
Nigerian authorities have reported the first case of the new coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa as the outbreak spreads to a region with some of the world’s weakest health systems.
The health commissioner for Lagos, Africa’s largest city with more than 20 million people, says an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on Tuesday from Milan on a business trip fell ill the next day.
Cases of the virus were confirmed in Egypt and Algeria in north Africa in recent days.
Until then, some global health experts had expressed surprise that no cases had been reported in Africa.
Virus outbreak in Iran sickens hundreds, including officials
After facing sanctions and the risk of war amid tensions with the U.S., Iran’s Shiite theocracy now has an enemy in the new coronavirus that infiltrated its leadership in plain view of state-controlled media and despite repeated denials of any looming threat.
The virus has laid bare the challenges facing the Islamic Republic some 40 years after its founding.
There are now over 510 cases of the new virus in the Mideast, with 388 of them in Iran.
The Islamic Republic has the highest death toll of any country outside of China, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
Virus epidemic growing by day hits schools, concerts, parks
Japan’s schools prepared to close for almost a month and entertainers, topped by K-pop superstars BTS, canceled events as a virus epidemic extended its spread through Asia into Europe and now into sub-Saharan Africa.
The expected closure of all Japan’s schools will leave few people untouched by the virus in the world’s third-biggest economy.
Disney’s parks in Tokyo added themselves to the growing number of cancellations as Japan tried to contain its outbreak.
The global count of those infected exceeds 83,000, with China still by far the hardest-hit country. But South Korea has surged past 2,000 cases, and outbreaks in Italy and Iran were connected to cases breaking out in other countries.
Geneva auto show canceled as Swiss ban big events over virus
The Geneva auto show is being canceled after the Swiss government announced an immediate ban on all public and private events involving more than 1,000 people.
It took the measure Friday to halt the spread of the new coronavirus. The move comes into effect immediately and will last until at least March 15.
The measure will above all affect the annual Geneva Motor Show, which was due to take place from March 5-15 and draws tens of thousands of visitors every year.
Organizers of the auto show confirm that it is canceled out of precaution.
National Symphony cancels Japan concerts due to virus
The National Symphony Orchestra canceled the five remaining performances in Japan of its Asian tour because of a new virus epidemic.
The orchestra originally was to play eight concerts from March 6-17, its first international tour with music director Gianandrea Noseda.
The NSO earlier called off shows in Beijing and Shanghai and has now scrapped performances in Fukui, Sakai, Hiroshima and Tokyo.
It cited a recommendation from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that major cultural events be canceled for the next two weeks.
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