Orange County reported two new “presumptive” cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, warning that more are likely as COVID-19 testing becomes available.
A man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s, both who recently traveled to countries with widespread transmission, are believed to have contracted the virus, according to an O.C. Health Care Agency news release.
The county is sending samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is still waiting on results to confirm whether the two actually have coronavirus.
“The more you look for something, the more likely you are to find it,” County Health Officer Nichole Quick said in the news release. “Now that our Public Health Laboratory is able to perform COVID-19 testing, we expect to see more cases here in Orange County.”
The department said it’s reaching out to everyone who had close contact with the two people and are believed to be at risk of infection.
Those who had “casual contact” with the patients, like being at the same grocery store or movie theater, are at minimal risk of developing infection, health officials said.
The department released no further details on the two cases reported Tuesday.
Orange County last week declared a local emergency over the spread coronavirus.
There has only been one confirmed case in the county, which involved a woman who traveled last month from Wuhan, China, and has since fully recovered.
On Monday, four Orange County firefighters were placed in isolation at an Irvine fire station after treating a patient suspected of having COVID-19. The patient later tested negative for the virus and the firefighters were allowed to go home.
Health officials advised community members to take the usual steps to try warding off respiratory illnesses, including washing their hands, covering their mouths when coughing and sneezing and staying home from work or school when they’re feeling sick.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials are scheduled to make an announcement about the county’s efforts to battle coronavirus 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.