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California’s coronavirus cases now at 15, with new diagnoses in Humboldt, Sacramento areas

Commuters at Union Station wear masks
Some commuters at Union Station late last month wear masks.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Health officials in Humboldt and Sacramento counties each confirmed a case of the coronavirus in residents who had recently traveled to China.

In addition, five people who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan and transported to Travis Air Force Base in Solano County have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in California to 15.

A contact of the Humboldt County resident who has symptoms of the virus is also being tested, the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Thursday night. Both people are doing well and self-isolating at home, officials said.

The Sacramento County resident, who returned to the U.S. from China on Feb. 2, took precautionary measures during travel and had been self-quarantined since returning, according to the county Public Health department. The patient is asymptomatic but will remain in isolation at home until cleared by health officials.

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In total, there are 34 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, CDC officials said earlier Friday; the Sacramento County case would bring that number to 35. Three of the cases were among people evacuated from Wuhan on government-chartered repatriation flights, and 18 were among passengers evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Those include the five hospitalized near Travis, plus 11 who are receiving care at University of Nebraska Medical Center near Camp Ashland and two who are being treated at hospitals near Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The Diamond Princess has been docked off Yokohama since Feb. 3 in the midst of an outbreak of coronavirus cases aboard, with more than 634 positive diagnoses reported among passengers.

The State Department chartered two flights to transport about 329 U.S. citizens from the cruise ship to military bases in California and Texas on Sunday. U.S. officials said early Monday that 14 of them had tested positive for the new coronavirus but were allowed on the flights because officials did not receive notice of the positive results until after they left the ship.

The CDC had previously confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in Illinois and one each in Arizona, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. The agency will now count cases among recently repatriated U.S. citizens separately from those among the general U.S. public because officials don’t believe the former number accurately reflects what is going on in the community, officials said Friday.

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The new strain of coronavirus has infected more than 74,000 people in mainland China, killing more than 2,100, since it was discovered in Wuhan in late December.


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