The latest case is a patient at the JBSA-Lackland military base in San Antonio, Texas, where 91 evacuees from Wuhan, China—the epicenter of the outbreak—have been in mandatory quarantine since they left China for the U.S. on Feb. 6. This is the first person under quarantine at the base who has tested positive for the virus, the CDC said in a public statement Thursday.
So far, cases have been diagnosed in California, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and now Texas. Globally, more than 60,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed or clinically confirmed as of Thursday afternoon—and more than 1,300 people have died. On Feb. 12, China changed its counting criteria to include clinical diagnoses in addition to lab-confirmed cases. Although that led to a 10-fold increase in the documented number of cases, observers said it could point to a more accurate picture of the extent of the outbreak.
The vast majority of confirmed and/or clinically diagnosed cases are in China, but diagnoses in the U.S. are expected to increase over the coming days and weeks, according to the CDC.
“We can and should be prepared for this new virus to gain a foothold in the U.S.,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, told reporters at a Wednesday press briefing. “The goal of the measures we have taken to date are to slow the introduction and impact of this disease in the United States, but at some point we are likely to see community spread in the U.S.”
Here’s what to know about COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. appeared in Washington on Jan. 21. A 35-year-old man presented himself to an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County, Wash., after four days of cough and fever, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, which reported that he had recently been visiting family in Wuhan.
“The patient should be recognized for his decision to voluntarily isolate himself, seek proper medical care, and allow the details of his private medical treatment to be made public so that the world may learn from his case, and advance our understanding of novel coronavirus,” the Washington State Department of Health said in a public statement on Jan. 31.
The man was released from a Washington hospital on Feb. 4, according to the Associated Press.
“I am at home and continuing to get better,” the man said in a statement to the AP. “I appreciate all of the concern expressed by members of the public, and I look forward to returning to my normal life.”
A single case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona by the CDC on Jan. 26. The person had also recently returned to the U.S. after visiting Wuhan. The Arizona Department of Health Services said in a public statement that the person is “a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing,” and added that they were not severely ill but would be kept in isolation.
Eight cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in California as of the afternoon of Feb. 13, the highest number in any state so far.
The first confirmed cases in the state were announced by the CDC on Jan. 26; the two patients had recently returned to the U.S. from Wuhan.
On Jan. 29, the State Department announced a flight carrying 195 evacuees from Wuhan landed at the March Air Reserve Base in southern California. Later, on Feb. 5, the CDC announced 14-day quarantine sites at the Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif. and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., where more evacuees from Wuhan would be placed.
Two people who were quarantined at Miramar have since been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are now in isolation at the University of San Diego Health. A third person has been placed under investigation after developing symptoms that warrant testing, the hospital announced on Feb. 12.
The first case in Illinois was a woman in her 60s who had returned to the U.S. from Wuhan on Jan. 13, health officials said at a press briefing on Jan. 30. Her husband then contracted the virus, becoming the first confirmed case of person-to-person transfer of the virus in the U.S.
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The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Feb. 12 that it became the first state in the U.S. to begin in-state testing for the virus.
On Feb. 1, the CDC announced that a man in his 20s who lives in Boston was diagnosed with COVID-19, making him the eighth confirmed case in the U.S. He had also recently traveled to Wuhan.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said the man sought medical care soon after his return to Boston. He has since been in isolation, and those who came in contact with him have been identified and are being monitored for symptoms, the agency said in a public statement.
“We are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately,” said Monica Bharel, Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner, in the statement. “Massachusetts has been preparing for a possible case of this new coronavirus, and we were fortunate that astute clinicians took appropriate action quickly. Again, the risk to the public from the 2019 novel coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts.”
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC announced the first case of COVID-19 in the state on Feb. 5. The person was only identified as “an adult with a history of travel to Beijing, China prior to becoming ill and was exposed to known cases while in China.”
Wisconsin health officials said in a public statement that the person is isolated at home, and is doing well.
The first person diagnosed with COVID-19 in Texas is currently in isolation at a hospital that has not yet been publicly identified by officials. The name of the individual has also not been released, but Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC division deputy director and current team lead at the JBSA-Lackland quarantine, told reporters at a Feb. 13 press conference that the person was a solo traveler.
The City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and the CDC announced Feb. 13 that the person was one of the Americans evacuated from Wuhan and transported to the military base on Feb. 7, after leaving Wuhan the previous day. There are currently 91 evacuees in a 14-day quarantine at the JBSA-Lackland military base, one of four designated quarantine sites for the roughly 800 Americans who have been evacuated from Wuhan.
On the morning of Feb. 11, the patient exhibited signs of a fever, McQuiston said. The person was transported to a hospital that morning, where samples were gathered and sent to the CDC overnight. Officials received the positive diagnosis around 6 p.m. on Feb. 12. “[That patient is] receiving excellent medical care,” McQuiston said at the Feb. 13 press conference. “They were, of course, not happy to learn of their diagnosis last night, and they do have loved ones in the United States that they are in contact with by phone, and we wish this individual well.”
Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, also said at the press conference that “the risk for us at this time to the community here is still considered low.”
The individuals who remain in quarantine are being monitored for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and an investigation is underway to determine who the diagnosed individual came in contact with and where they went inside of quarantine prior to being put in isolation, McQuiston said. She also said the CDC does not currently have a plan to extend the time for the quarantine for the remaining evacuees in San Antonio, which is set to end on Feb. 20.