California monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus

Gov. Newsom assured Californians that the state is prepared to respond to the potential spread of the coronavirus as questions mount as to how a Solano County resident— with no recent travel history or exposure to anyone with the virus, became infected. 

The patient is the first possible COVID-19 case of "community spread" transmission, the Center for Disease Control said. 

The woman had no travel history or explainable known exposure to the virus but spent days in her community before seeking medical attention at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, unwittingly heightening the risk to others. 

During her three-day stay at the facility, her symptoms worsened and she was transferred to the UC Davis Medical Center where she tested positive for the virus. 

"We're on top of this," Newsom said at a news conference on Thursday, still with no clear indication where the coronavirus case that surfaced in Solano County came from. 

Newsom said 8,400 people are being monitored for the novel coronavirus in the state in dozens of jurisdictions.  

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Newsom said more than 800 people had come into California on repatriation flights from areas affected by the virus. Some of those passengers had been quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California's Solano County.

"But that's a small part of the overall picture," Newsom said. "Thousands and thousands of other people have come in on more traditional flights through the state of California. Some 8,400-plus are currently being monitored with 49 local jurisdictions doing those protocols and monitoring as it relates to more traditional commercial flights that came in from points of concern and potential points of contact, particularly in Asia."

Nonetheless. the state has vast experience with many diseases, including Swine Flu and Ebola.

"Nothing, so far, has surprised us. What happened in Solano County didn't surprise anybody," the governor said. But no one is taking it lightly. 

"This particular case could be the first possible instance of community transmission of Covid-19 in the United States and it's here in California," said California Cheif Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell. "We do realize that this case that we're discussing marks a turning point and, as such, we're expanding our surveillance activities, we're increasing our laboratory as mentioned with more testing." 

But, no one is overplaying it either. 

"Our experience to date though is that most people, more than 85%, will have mild or no symptoms. The risk to the general public remains low," said Angell. 

"This is a rapidly evolving situation. We are leveraging all the necessary state resources to address it. We are in constant communication with our Federal partners. We are the first in the nation to again roll out testing and we are going to be expanding that in the hours to come," said California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

The Centers for Disease Control is vastly increasing the number of test kits and supplying personnel to California to speed up the entire contact tracing process. 

"We have a very robust and first-class tracking system to make sure that we're reaching out to all of the potential contacts," said Ghaly. 

Despite dozens of lawsuits between the state of California and the Trump Administration, the Governor says cooperation is excellent. 

"Politics has no place at this moment. We have to meet this moment with a sense of urgency and conviction that transcends politics and transcends pettiness," said Newsom.