Two coronavirus patients transferred to UCSF for treatment
SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's Department of Public Health said two patients with the new coronavirus were transferred Monday morning from outside the county to a San Francisco hospital for specialized treatment.
In a statement from San Benito County, two patients with novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV showed worsening symptoms late Sunday night.
“It was then determined that both patients needed to be admitted to a hospital equipped for a higher level of care. The patients have been transferred out of San Benito County by specialty ambulance,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the San Benito County Health Officer.
The University of California San Francisco confirms they received the two patients and both are being cared for in isolation. They are not disclosing the names of the patients for privacy reasons. A source tells KTVU the patients are being treated at the Parnassus campus. UCSF specialists and experts have a history of treating infectious diseases including cases from the 2003 SARS epidemic.
"In addition to our standard infectious disease protocols, we have instituted a number of measures to screen patients with potential 2019-nCoV, as well as prevent the coronavirus’ spread. UCSF Health is screening patients to ensure that we are taking all precautions for any individuals that have traveled from China," UCSF Health said in a statement.
The new coronavirus first detected in the city of Wuhan continues to spread in China.
China's National Health Commission released new numbers Monday, saying there have now been 425 reported deaths and 20,438 cases of the novel coronavirus.
The World Health Organization says the virus has now been confirmed in 24 countries.
The U.S. has 11 cases, six of which are in California. In the Bay Area, two cases have been reported in Santa Clara County.
At SFO airport, several major U.S. airlines are canceling flights to and from China for the next month.
"Typically at this time of year we have about 90 flights to China per week. That number is being cut by about 45% and we'll probably see some further reductions beyond that," said Doug Yakel, the SFO spokesman.
The U.S. also imposed new travel restrictions Sunday. Foreign travelers who have come from China in the last 14 days will not be admitted into the United States, while U.S. citizens and residents will be allowed re-entry but must be screened. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms will be quarantined.
The U.S. military is now setting up quarantine facilities for up to 1,000 people. Travis Air Force base in Fairfield is listed as one of the locations.
"It's very important that we not rule things out at this stage...And that's why we need to keep taking prudent measures to protect the American public," said Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services Secretary.
The State Department also announced it is planning more evacuation flights for U.S. citizens in Wuhan.
Other countries are continuing evacuations and restricting the entry of Chinese or people who have recently traveled in the country. A plane carrying Malaysians from Wuhan arrived in Kuala Lumpur and the 133 people on board were to be screened and quarantined for 14 days, the maximum incubation period for the virus.
In Japan, health officials are conducting medical checks on all 3,700 passengers and crew of a U.S.-operated Diamond Princess cruise ship that returned Yokohama Monday, after an 80-year-old man disembarked from the ship in Hong Kong and later tested postive for the new coronavirus.
In Hong Kong, where the first death was reported, all but two land and sea border crossings with mainland China were closed. The shutdown came after thousands of people in a hospital workers union went on strike calling for more protections.
Taiwan on Monday flew home 247 of its citizens from Wuhan and had sent three passengers for treatment after they were found to have fever or sore throats. The other passengers are being quarantined at medical facilities for the next two weeks.
Germany's Lufthansa became the latest international airline to suspend flights to China, and several countries are barring Chinese travelers or people who passed through China recently.
Chinese officials say they already are preparing to open a second hospital with 1,500 beds built specifically for coronavirus patients, after the first 1,000 bed hospital was constructed in just ten days.
China is facing shortages of supplies including masks to filter the virus, protective suits and other articles, as it seeks to enforce temperature checks at homes, offices, shops and restaurants, require masks be worn in public and keep more than 50 million people from leaving home in Wuhan and neighboring cities.
To help meet demand, the European Union office in Beijing said member states have shipped 12 tons of protective equipment to China, with more on the way.
The economic impact is being felt. Apple announced a temporary closure of 42 stores in China through Sunday to avoid any spread of the virus.
The World Health Organization outlined its global strategy Monday, calling on all countries to share data and accelerate development of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.
"The only way we will defeat this outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, M.D., the World Health Organization Director-General.
Chinese scientists said they have more evidence the virus originated in bats. In a study published in the journal Nature, Shi Zhen-Li and colleagues at the Wuhan Institute of Virology reported that genome sequences from seven patients were 96% identical to a bat coronavirus.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control say it could take up to 3 months before a trial vaccine is available.
(Associated Press writers Ken Moritsugu, Maria Cheng, and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.)