South Pasadena city and school officials are taking steps to stay updated on the spread of a recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a respiratory illness that started in China. As of Tuesday, there were five confirmed cases in the U.S., with one in L.A. County and another in Orange County.

The illness, known as 2019-nCoV, first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread. Since December 2019, Chinese authorities preliminarily identified more than 6,000 human infections, which include around 132 deaths as of Jan. 28, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Despite the case in L.A. County, the department said the risk for the novel coronavirus to spread in L.A. County residents is “deemed to be low at this time” and that there is “no immediate threat to the general public.”

South Pasadena Fire Battalion Chief Eric Zanteson told the Review that the public health department and the L.A. County EMS Agency are currently “providing guidance to first responders to assist in the screening process and to reduce the spread of this virus.” 

In an email Tuesday to South Pasadena Unified School District parents and the school community, Superintendent Geoff Yantz shared a statement from the public health department and the Centers for Disease Control in regard to the situation.

The statement noted that the coronavirus strain, which has not been previously found in humans, can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath. A majority of those infected reported exposure at a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. There is some evidence of human-to-human transmission, but the nature of that has not yet been clarified.

“Despite this case in Los Angeles County, L.A. Public Health states that there is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness,” Yantz said in the email.

If a resident, student or someone you know has traveled to Wuhan and feels sick, the public health department encourages them to stay home and avoid contact with others, except for seeking medical care; seek medical care right away; before traveling to a medical facility, call ahead to tell them of your recent travel and symptoms; do not travel while sick; wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water is not available; and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) while sneezing.

For more information on the Novel Coronavirus, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Skye Hannah, Senior Reporter
Author

Skye Hannah is a senior reporter for the South Pasadena Review and the San Marino Tribune, covering education, government, sports, features and civic issues. Skye previously served as an award-winning senior staff photojournalist and staff writer for five years for the Rome News-Tribune in Rome, Georgia. You can contact Skye with news tips and feedback at shannah@gavilanmedia.com / Twitter @SkyeHannahCA

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