L.A. County, now with 20 coronavirus cases, has first from community spread. Here is what we know

Los Angeles County Public Health Department Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County announced its first coronavirus case of community spread, with the total number of cases rising to 20.

L.A. County Public Health Department Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said one of the two new cases in her agency’s jurisdiction is that of a person who had a known travel history to Japan. The source of exposure of the second person is unknown. Separately, Long Beach, which has its own health department, reported its first cases of coronavirus-infected patients — two men and one woman.

“This is our first case of community transmission in L.A. County and we will continue to see more cases of COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “We continue to urge everyone to do their part: Stay home if you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick; plan for the possibility of school and business closures.”


The two new confirmed coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County jurisdiction are in isolation, and all close contacts are or will be quarantined for 14 days.

Of the three new coronavirus patients in Long Beach, one is hospitalized in stable condition; the other two are at home in isolation. Two recently returned from a cruise on the Nile River in Egypt, where other cases of coronavirus had been reported on the ship, and the other person had traveled to an area in Northern California where community transmission of the virus was occurring.

Ferrer said anyone who has spent 10 minutes with an infected individual or came within 6 feet of him or her would be considered a close contact.

Of the patients monitored by L.A. County, one individual has fully recovered, and the remaining are isolated. Ferrer did not identify the specific location of any individual, but said that if a known public exposure occurs, residents would learn more information.

Ferrer estimated that 80 to 100 individuals have been tested for the virus at the county’s public health lab, but noted that the lab’s testing capacity is limited.

“We cannot, in L.A. County, test 1,000 people in a day,” she said. Ferrer recommended social distancing, and that individuals who are sick stay home in order to protect others who may be most vulnerable to the virus.


“We recognize that the most important thing we can do right now is to stay home when we’re sick — no matter how mild our symptoms are.”

No school closure has been recommended in the county — a decision she said would be based on exposure.

Here is the latest breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County

8 involve a group of travelers who visited northern Italy, where the coronavirus has been widespread.

2 are connected to close contact to a coronavirus patient.

2 are Los Angeles International Airport workers.

1 is a person who traveled from Japan.

1 lived in Wuhan, China.

• 1 came from a conference in Washington state.

• 1 case is of unknown origin.

• 2 recently returned from a cruise on the Nile River where other cases of the virus were reported on the ship.

• 1 traveled to an area in Northern California where the virus is spreading in the community.

• 1 traveled from Iran to LAX