New US coronavirus case may be 1st from unknown origin

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NEW YORK (AP) - Health officials say a new coronavirus case in California could be the first in the U.S. that has no known connection to travel abroad or another known case, a possible sign the virus is spreading in a community. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the case Wednesday night. California officials said the person is a resident of Solano County and is getting medical care in Sacramento County.

Click here for the latest on the virus from the CDC.

El Paso County Public Health provided the following information to the community on Wednesday afternoon:

With recent cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reported in several countries, including the U.S., local health officials are watchful for potential cases. While COVID-19 is a serious global public health threat, the immediate risk in our community remains low. Although the worldwide number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise with over 81,000 cases globally, there have been no confirmed cases in Colorado or El Paso County. El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) considers any new infectious disease a serious concern and has been diligently monitoring the situation for the past few months and preparing to take precautions should COVID-19 become more widespread.

Based on experiences from past disease outbreaks – including outbreaks of related coronaviruses – we know that identifying cases quickly and responding to them effectively is key to limiting and stopping the spread of disease. Rapid response helps to assure ill people receive the necessary care, and it lessens the chance of other people getting sick. Colorado and El Paso County have a strong disease surveillance system in place. Locally, EPCPH routinely plans, coordinates and prepares with the medical community, including clinic systems, local hospitals, private physician practices, the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, the Crisis Communication Network, and other partners to assure a coordinated and effective response.

Disease investigation is a core public health service. EPCPH’s communicable disease program conducts 24/7 monitoring of more than 60 reportable diseases, including COVID-19, to help prevent the spread of disease in our community. In addition, EPCPH’s emergency operations plans are regularly practiced and updated to prepare to respond to a wide range of potential hazards. EPCPH routinely works with local, state and federal partners to respond swiftly to emerging issues.

When a new virus like COVID-19 emerges on the public health scene, there are many questions, and it is understandable to be concerned. EPCPH encourages residents to rely on trusted, credible sources of information to prevent the spread of misinformation. With recent developments, it’s logical for people to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families. The same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu can help protect against COVID-19:

Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow shirt sleeve
Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
Stay home if you’re sick
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Call (303) 389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 (CO HELP) with questions about COVID-19.