LOS ANGELES - Four new cases of novel coronavirus were confirmed in Los Angeles County, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 11, public health officials said Thursday.
All of these additional positive cases are part of a group of travelers who were in Northern Italy, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Public Health has identified additional people who may have had close personal contact with these individuals, including any friends, family members or health care professionals, to assess and monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness.
All confirmed cases are being isolated and their close contacts are quarantined. There are no known significant exposures to the general public.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also issued new directives Thursday for travelers returning from areas experiencing local outbreaks; the guidance asks these travelers to distance themselves from the public for 14 days by staying home from work and/or school, avoiding public spaces and public transit, and monitoring themselves for signs and symptoms of respiratory illness.
Should returning travelers from areas experiencing outbreaks develop illness, they should immediately call their health care provider.
The four additional cases came just one day after the county declared a public health emergency in order to receive funds from the state and federal level to address the spread of the disease. The decision to declare a state of emergency was not to create panic, but rather to allow local health agencies more tools and access to respond to this virus.
“With yesterday’s declarations of a public health emergency by the Board of Supervisors, Public Health has mobilized county resources, accelerated emergency planning, streamlined staffing, and enhanced our coordinated efforts with agencies across the county and with our state and federal partners,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, Director of Public Health.
“As more cases are identified, we are asking everyone to do their part: stay home if you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick; take time now to plan for the possibility of school and business closures, and be sure to follow any additional directives issued by Public Health and/or local officials. By working together, we can try to slow the transmission of novel coronavirus," she added.
Public Health says it will continue to actively monitor this situation and provide updates to the public as needed.
Public Health continues to recommend that the public do the following to protect themselves and others from respiratory illnesses:
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
• Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are sick.
• Get a flu immunization if you have not done so this season.