CDC announces 1st US case of Wuhan coronavirus in Washington state

SEATTLE — The first case of Wuhan coronavirus was reported in the United States, in Washington state, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The novel virus, which was first identified in December in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 300 people and killed six, in an outbreak that has been reported in five countries — now including the United States.

Health officials identified the infected person as a man in his 30s from Snohomish County, Washington.

The man recently traveled to China and arrived back in Seattle on Jan. 15.

The CDC said the risk to the general public is low. Authorities were working on notifying anyone who may have come in contact with the man.

It wasn’t clear whether this person recently traveled to China, where and how they became infected, and if this person has transmitted the virus to anyone else in the United States.

A CDC team was sent to Washington state to assist Snohomish County and the Washington Department of Health, with officials in China racing to contain the spread of the new virus that has left at least six people dead and sickened more than 300, after it was confirmed the infection can spread between humans.

Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected, announced a series of new measures Tuesday, including the cancellation of upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations, expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.

Tour agencies were banned from taking groups out of Wuhan and the number of thermal monitors and screening areas in public spaces was being increased. Traffic police were also conducting spot checks on private vehicles coming in and out of the city to look for live poultry or wild animals, after the virus was linked to a seafood and live animal market, according to a report by state media outlet the People’s Daily, citing Wuhan’s Municipal Health Commission.

The new measures came after Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered “resolute efforts to curb the spread” of the virus Monday — with fears that efforts to contain it came too late, hampered by a slow-moving Chinese bureaucracy which failed to put sufficient measures in place in time.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese were expected to begin traveling across the country and overseas as the annual Lunar New Year break gets fully underway, compounding concerns of a further spike in cases.

Though infections were first detected in Wuhan in mid-December, infrared temperature screening areas were not installed in the city’s airports and stations until Jan. 14, according to state media.

On Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission announced that it had received 291 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, with 77 new cases reported on Jan.  20.

The municipal health commissions of Zhejiang, Tianjin, Beijing, and Shanghai also reported additional cases on Tuesday, pushing the number of infections up to 307.

Patientswere identified as having the virus in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located (270 cases), Beijing (10 cases); Guangdong province (14 cases); Shanghai (six cases); Zhejiang (five cases); and Tianjin (two cases). Suspected cases were also reported in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, and Shandong provinces.

The death toll rose to six Tuesday evening after the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission confirmed that a 66-year-old male and a 48-year-old female died on Jan. 20.

Officials added that 60 new cases were confirmed by the end of Monday in Wuhan city, where a 15-year-old was the youngest to be infected.

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