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Coronavirus jumped from person-to-person in California

Published Feb 5th, 2020 5:02PM EST
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The new strain of coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in China, has made another person-to-person jump, this time in California. A husband and wife pair are now confirmed to have the viral infection in San Benito County. The two had been attempting to self-quarantine but traveled to a San Francisco hospital after symptoms worsened.

The husband had recently returned from a trip to Wuhan, China, which is now considered the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. His wife did not travel with him, but the fact that both of them returned positive test results means that the virus passed from the husband to the wife in the United States.

Tracking cases of coronavirus infection in the United States is obviously very important, but it’s even more crucial to identify when the virus passes from person to person. In the initial stages of the outbreak, health officials in China believed the virus wasn’t actually passing from person to person, but now that we know that it can, keeping a close eye on those incidents is vital to tracking the spread.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely to protect the health of San Benito County residents and limit the spread of this virus,” San Benito County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said in a statement. “We are working closely with Bay Area health officials, local health care providers and community partners.”

The bulletin released by San Benito County notes that anyone who has recently been to China and feels ill should stay home and avoid any contact with others. A call to the emergency line is appropriate, and you should explain your symptoms and your recent travel history.

That being said, the bulletin also notes that if you haven’t traveled to China or been rubbing elbows with anyone who has, the risk of coronavirus infection is incredibly low.