40 coronavirus cases in LA County after 8 new cases announced Friday

Los Angeles County health officials on Friday announced 8 additional confirmed coronavirus cases in the county, including three additional cases of unknown origin, bringing the county's overall total to 40.

The three cases of unknown origin are presumed to have been contracted through community spread, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

One of the additional cases was an individual who had recently traveled to South Korea and investigations are continuing into the exposure history of the other four. Public Health said it is investigating these cases and will notify persons 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 dose contacts are quarantined.

"Continued evidence of community transmission in LA County is growing. We are all in this together and we must all do our part to slow the spread," said Ferrer. "There are key steps that we are asking members of the public, businesses and organization to do right now to help slow the spread of COVID-19."

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Ferrer said 247 cases of COVID-19 have been reported statewide, with about 1,700 across the country, and 40 deaths nationwide. One death has been reported in Los Angeles County.

Information we know about some of the confirmed cases in the county:

• A woman over the age of 60 died while visiting friends in the county after contracting COVID-19. She had underlying health conditions and recently had a long layover in South Korea
• Eight people in the travel group to Italy
• Two contract employees who were conducting coronavirus medical screenings of arriving passengers at Los Angeles International Airport
• Two relatives of a person who lives outside the county and was also confirmed with the virus
• A traveler from the area of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. That person, the county's first, has since recovered
• A resident who recently returned from attending the AIPAC Conference in Washington, D.C., where there was a known exposure to a person who was positive for the virus
• A resident who recently traveled to Japan
Three residents in the city of Long Beach. Two of which traveled internationally and one who traveled domestically, all to areas with known community transmission
• A resident who recently returned from Iran
Three people who are "household contacts" of a previously confirmed case in the county, one of which is hospitalized
• A resident who traveled internationally in France and returned home ill
• A person who traveled to a religious conference in another state and was a close contact of a person at the conference who tested positive for COVID-19
• A person who was exposed by a close contact who attended the AIPAC conference in Washington DC
• 6 cases of unknown origin, believed to be spread through the community
• An individual who recently traveled to South Korea
• Four cases are pending more investigation

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should call their healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

Public health officials recommended that people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and people who are elderly adopt some "social distancing" practices immediately. This includes avoiding non-essential travel, avoiding public gatherings and avoiding event venues.

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Although officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging residents to be prepared, they say you're still more likely to contract the flu than coronavirus.

The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including novel coronavirus, are:

• Stay home if you are sick. Sick people make well people sick.
• If you have mild symptoms, there may be no need to go to a medical facility to see a doctor.
• Certain patients, such as the elderly, those that are immune-compromised or have underlying health conditions should call their doctor earlier.
• If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 211 for assistance finding support near you.
• Wash your hands 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.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Get immunized against the flu to protect yourself and your family, and reduce the potential strain on the healthcare system, which may be impacted by COVID-19 concerns.

The CDC does not recommend people who are well to wear facemasks.

Click here for additional information and resources from LA Public Health.

Numerous events in the county have been canceled or postponed due to growing concerns over coronavirus. Click here for a full list.