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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

CDC testing potential San Diego coronavirus case

HHSA has a plan in place to identify, isolate, test, and investigate possible coronavirus cases.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A potential San Diego coronavirus case was reported to County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) from an individual who traveled to impacted areas in China where the deadly virus is believed to have originated. 

After consulting with a San Diego hospital, a specimen was collected, sent to the County Public Health Lab for packaging and then sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing. Currently, the CDC is the only entity capable of testing for the deadly virus. 

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The patient is currently in isolation at home and results are expected back from the CDC on Wednesday, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency said Tuesday. The results were originally expected Tuesday night. 

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority released the following statement:

"San Diego International Airport is monitoring ongoing developments with the coronavirus, and is in close contact with the CDC. At this time, we have not received any instructions from CDC or County Health to screen passengers for the virus. The CDC has provided SAN with specific guidance to help local EMS providers responding to medical calls at the airport assess and identify potentially infected travelers. Further, although SAN has no direct flights from China, in collaboration with CDC and CBP, we have posted an informational graphic on monitors in the International Arrivals facility that educates passengers on steps they can take if they have recently traveled to China and are feeling sick."

San Diego County has been conducting its investigation to identify people who may have had close contact with the patient and quarantine them.

“The risk of infection for the general public minimal,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. 

“If you have not traveled to an area where the virus has been detected or had close contact with a patient who tested positive for this type of coronavirus, the risk of infection is very low.”

Working with the CDC, the California Department of Public Health and the local medical community, HHSA has a plan in place to identify, isolate, test, and investigate a possible case of the respiratory illness.

“We are prepared and are conducting surveillance for this new virus just like we do for any communicable disease, including previously identified coronaviruses," said Dr. Wooten. 

Health officials confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Los Angeles County on Sunday.

"The infected person presented themselves for care once they noticed that they were not feeling well and is currently receiving medical treatment," according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "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."

The patient is a returning traveler from Wuhan City, China.

On Saturday, the Orange County Health Care Agency confirmed a case of coronavirus after a traveler from Wuhan, China -- ground zero for the deadly disease -- tested positive.