L.A. County confirms coronavirus in 4 more people who traveled to northern Italy, bringing county total to 11 cases

Coronavirus

A day after declaring a local health emergency, Los Angeles County officials on Thursday announced four additional cases of coronavirus—raising the county’s total to 11.

According to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the new patients were part of a group who traveled to northern Italy, three of whom had previously been confirmed to have the virus.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released this graphic on Feb. 29, 2020 showing facts about the novel coronavirus, including how it spreads, its symptoms and what people can do to protect themselves.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released this graphic on Feb. 29, 2020 showing facts about the novel coronavirus, including how it spreads, its symptoms and what people can do to protect themselves.

The new patients have been quarantined, and health officials are monitoring anyone they came in close contact with.

“There are no known significant exposures to the general public,” the Department of Public Health said in a statement.

L.A. County officials confirmed six COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and declared a local health emergency in an effort to secure the necessary resources to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

Those cases include three individuals who returned from a trip to northern Italy, two family members exposed to an out-of-county relative who had the virus, and a Department of Homeland Security contractor who screened people at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to officials.

That employee assessed travelers who came from China and nearby countries, sources told the L.A. Times.

The first coronavirus case in L.A. County was confirmed in January, L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at a Wednesday news conference. Health officials have since deemed that person to be no longer infectious.

Of the patients announced Wednesday, only one remained hospitalized, Ferrer said.

Later that day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency after Placer County announced the first COVID-19 fatality in the state.

It was the first U.S. coronavirus death outside Washington state, bringing the nationwide toll to 11, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Authorities described the Placer County resident who died as an “elderly” individual who had returned from a Princess cruise ship that traveled between San Francisco and Mexico. That patient’s exposure to the virus likely occurred on the cruise between Feb. 11 and Feb. 21, Placer County officials said.

The same cruise ship must now remain at sea before docking in San Francisco, with at least 21 of 2,500 people on board showing signs of illness, Newsom said.

Officials said in addition to making resources available to California, the declaration of a state of emergency enacts anti-price gouging rules.

Citing state law, Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned businesses against hiking up costs of essential supplies as consumers rush to stock up during the outbreak.

Violators could face up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $10,000, Becerra said in a news conference on Thursday.

Witnesses can call their local enforcement agency or file a complaint to the California attorney general’s office by calling 800-952-5225 or visiting oag.ca.gov.

L.A. County’s most recently confirmed cases have brought the state total to at least 57.

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