California health officials said Friday that 7,600 people who returned to the state after visiting China during the outbreak of the new virus have been asked to quarantine themselves at home this month as health officials try to stop the spread of the virus.
The people returned to the U.S. on or after Feb. 2 and are being asked to monitor their health, stay home and limit interactions with others, the California Department of Public Health said in a statement.
The department said that number excludes those who visited China’s Hubei province, where the disease known as COVID-19 originated. Americans who spent time there and in Hubei’s provincial capital of Wuhan have been flown home on U.S.-chartered flights and quarantined on military bases.
The U.S. is funneling travelers from China to 11 airports, including San Francisco International Airport, to ensure they get medical screening and medical care. At least 34 people in the U.S. have tested positive for the virus, including 18 who returned home from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan, the Centers for Disease Control said during a conference call with reporters Friday.
Federal authorities at the San Francisco airport are informing the travelers who return from China that they should isolate themselves at home.
Nationwide, the numbers in home quarantine are constantly changing and hard to pin down. The CDC said it is not tracking how many people from each U.S. state who have returned from China have been asked to isolate themselves.
New York state, for instance, has received the names of hundreds of people who recently returned from mainland China. State and U.S. guidelines sort people into high-, medium- and low-risk groups and have advice for each group. But local health departments have discretion in how to carry out the quarantines.
Federal officials share passenger details with states, who pass that information on to local health agencies. All those returning are advised to follow CDC recommendations to prevent possible transmission, the state agency said.
There are 10 people in California who have tested positive for the virus in lab tests performed by the CDC, the California Department of Public Health said. California’s Humboldt and Sacramento counties reported their first cases of the virus Friday, both from people who had recently traveled to China.