Passengers From Infected City Land In Riverside

A plane carrying 201 passengers from Wuhan, China, landed shortly after 8:00 a.m. on Jan. 28, at March Air Reserve Base having been diverted form Ontario Airport last night. Jose Arballo, Senior Public Information Specialist for Riverside County said that the passengers are currently being screened by federal health officials and local public health nurses and other members of staff for symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a.k.a. ‘Wuhan Cornavirus.’ Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that circulate mostly among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Common symptoms in an infected human include a fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Since December 2019, Chinese authorities have identified hundreds of cases associated with this novel coronavirus in an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

CDPH has been informed that one individual in Los Angeles County and one individual in Orange County have tested positive for novel coronavirus, which has been confirmed by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH), the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA), and CDC.

The CDC confirmed the first case in the U.S. on Jan. 21, a Washington State man who had returned to the U.S from Wuhan on Jan. 15. On Jan. 24, the CDC confirmed a second U.S. case in a traveler who returned to Chicago from Wuhan on Jan. 13. 

Arballo described the screening process at March ARB as “very thorough” and said that it involves a physical examination portion which includes the taking of people’s temperatures, collecting tissue and blood samples and a salivary swab. Arballo said that there is also a very thorough medical questionnaire and portion and passengers are required to give their full medical history, in depth. The specimen samples will be shipped to CDC for analysis. Following the check-up, passengers who are able to will be asked to stay under voluntary quarantine at March ARB until their results return from the CDC. If a passenger cannot stay then their contact information will be forward to local health agencies who will monitoring them from that point onward. At the time of press, the CDC nor any other public health agency have issued a mandatory quarantine for March ARB. All of the passengers passed the first health check which took place in China before the plane departed, and then a secondary health check which took place in Alaska on a refueling stop for the flight.

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health (DPH) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to respond to recent reports of Wuhan Coronavirus. At the time of press no cases of Wuhan Coronavirus have been reported in San Bernardino County.

 “There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in San Bernardino County to date,” states Dr. Erin Gustafson, San Bernardino County Assistant Health Officer. “DPH will keep citizens informed as more information about the coronavirus is made available. At this time, we urge the public to remain calm, as it is very unlikely to be at risk of contracting the virus.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the agency estimates that from Oct. 2019 to Jan. 2020 15 million to 21 million people contracted seasonal viral influenza, a far more common infectious disease than the Wuhan Coronavirus. 7 million to 10 million people made a medical visit for symptoms of the flu during that same period and, 140,000 to 250,000 were hospitalized. 8,200 - 20,000 people have died from the flu since October. There have been no deaths related to Wuhan Coronavirus in the United States. At the time of press, all 133 deaths related to Wuhan Coronavirus have taken place in China.

As with any virus, especially during the flu season, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your health and those around you:

Washing hands with soap and water.

Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoiding close contact with people who are sick are all ways to reduce the risk of infection with a number of different viruses.

If someone does become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough, they should stay away from work, school or other people to avoid spreading illness.

While there is no cure for this virus, our hospital partners and clinical providers will be able to test and care for ill travelers effectively to minimize transmission and severe illness. DPH will continue to provide updates and work with local healthcare providers as the situation evolves.

DPH urges individuals who have recently traveled to Wuhan City and who develop fever or respiratory symptoms, to contact their healthcare provider by phone. DPH requests that healthcare providers treating patients with respiratory symptoms ask these patients about their travel history to Wuhan, China and to report suspected novel coronavirus infections to DPH.

Additional questions about the screening process should be directed to the CDC.

Additional information can be found though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or California Department of Public Health (CDPH) pages. Information is available in English and Chinese.