SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Thursday morning, Governor Gavin Newsom along with state health officials spoke to the public about California’s response to the new coronavirus.
California now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any state in the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now sending a team of people to the state.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is not yet ready to call a state of emergency as California ramps up its response to COVID-19.
As of Thursday, 33 people tested positive for the virus in the state and five of those patients were transported to other states.
California health centers are now treating the rest and bracing for the numbers to rise.
“This is a fluid situation at this time and I want to emphasize that the risk to the general public remains low,” said California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell.
State leaders and health officials are trying to put the public at ease as more cases of coronavirus are confirmed in California. The state is now monitoring more than 8,000 people for the virus.
“We are not overreacting but nor are we underreacting to the understandable anxiety many people have,” Gov. Newsom said.
One of the latest cases confirmed in Northern California is from an unknown source. Health officials say it could be the first community transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the first of its kind in the country.
The patient is from Solano County, the home of Travis Air Force Base, where the federal government and California have worked to treat people possibly infected on cruise ships or in China. Officials say they do not believe there is a connection between the patient and the base.
UC Davis Medical Center confirmed an internal memo informing staff that the patient is being treated at their Sacramento facility. The person has been at the medical center since Feb. 19 after being transferred from another hospital in the region.
The California Department of Public Health says in this particular case, the patient had no known exposure to the virus through travel or direct contact with an exposed person.
The patient arrived on a ventilator and special protection orders were issued “because of an undiagnosed and suspected viral condition,” according to the email sent to employees.
The hospital asked the CDC to test for the coronavirus but testing was delayed until Sunday “since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19,” the email said.
Solano County health officials said in a statement Thursday they are working with local, state and federal officials to identify people who may have been exposed to person infected in the county.
“While this is considered a serious public health threat, the risk to Solano County residents and the general public is low at this time,” the county health department said.
UC Davis, which has treated other coronavirus patients, has been taking infection prevention precautions since the patient arrived. The email said officials believe there was a small chance that others at the facility were exposed to the virus.
“Nevertheless, a small number of medical center employees have been asked to stay home and monitor their temperatures,” the email said.
“We currently have people in the field working in the community from the local, the state and also from the CDC. They are investigating the cases and they’re taking action,” Dr. Angell explained. “They’re contacting any individuals who might have exposed and they’re isolating them.”
The CDC is now promising to send California more testing kits and says it will update its protocols after the agency took four days to test the patient.
Newsom says more kits are on the way after the CDC originally provided 200. The CDC is also sending 10 officials to help with testing in the state.
“It was not just the lack of test kits but the lack of ability to utilize those test kits,” Newsom said. “Now, we’ll be able to utilize them and we will be the recipient of an exponential increase in new test kits and then more testing locations will be available.”
Gov. Newsom said California will continue to work with the federal government to treat patients who are possibly at risk of the virus. He said his administration is working to identify even more areas to continue this work across the state.