SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- The first case of novel coronavirus has been confirmed in Sacramento County, county health officials said Friday.
The adult patient returned from China to the United States on Feb. 2, according to a release from Sacramento County Public Health Services.
Though more than 2,000 people have died from coronavirus so far, with the majority of deaths reported out of mainland China, experts say one local case is not a reason for the public to panic.
"There have been a couple dozen cases in the United States that are all travel-related,” said Dr. Peter Beilenson, the director of Sacramento County’s Department of Health Services. “So, it's not terribly unexpected and we obviously caught this nice and early. The person now no longer has symptoms, is doing quite well and we're isolating them until they give two consecutive negative tests, read by the CDC as negative for the coronavirus."
Officials said the patient is now showing no symptoms but will remain in isolation until they are cleared.
If that is broken before they're cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they could be arrested and have their quarantine continue under guard.
It's been just 11 days since the World Health Organization officially named the illness now at the center of an international crisis COVID-19.
While the virus seems to be ravaging the globe, with the number of cases topping 76,000 at this point, local experts say there's no reason to panic. They say the flu is much more virulent.
"In this current year, current flu season, we've had 25 million cases of the flu, 180,000 people in hospital because of it and 12,000 deaths. It's a much, much greater risk to people than this novel coronavirus," Dr. Beilenson explained.
This is the eighth confirmed case of the virus in California and the 35th in the U.S. Another case was confirmed Wednesday evening in Humboldt County.