The California coronavirus patient who was initially hospitalized for days without being tested is listed in serious condition and hooked up to a breathing tube, according to a new report.
The woman was the first coronavirus victim in the US whose case is of “unknown” origin.
The medical condition of the Solano County resident, who is at the UC Davis Medical Center, may hamper authorities in their bid to figure out where she contracted the widespread bug, Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who represents the district where the woman lives, told CNN Friday.
The woman, whose name was not released, could be the first instance of “community spread” of the virus, the CDC has said.
“This case isn’t connected to travel to China or from somebody that’s known to China or other affected area,” UC Davis Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Dean Blumberg told local outlet KCRA. “And so that suggests the virus is out there in the community, and that means pretty much everybody is at risk.”
The woman was hospitalized for days without being tested, according to a letter sent to hospital staff that emerged earlier this week.
The patient was admitted to the medical center from another Northern California hospital Feb. 19 with a suspected viral infection, the letter said.
UC Davis requested that the CDC test the person for novel coronavirus because neither the Sacramento County nor the California Department of Public Health were conducting testing, according to the letter.
A test was not immediately administered because the woman “did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19.”
The CDC ordered that the patient be tested Sunday — four days after being admitted to UC Davis, according to the report. It wasn’t until three days later that the results came back positive.
Earlier in the outbreak, the CDC specified that a person had to have a travel history to China, or close contact with someone who had been there, before being tested, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN.
Since the California case emerged, that has changed, according to Redfield.
“As soon as that case was recognized, we met and we revised our case definition for persons under investigation,” he said. “Today, that has been posted [to the CDC website] along with a new health advisory that the recommendation should be when a clinician or individual suspects coronavirus, then we should be able to get a test for coronavirus.”
Additionally on Friday, two new US coronavirus cases were reported among passengers who had been quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise liner in Japan, according to CNN. So far, 62 coronavirus cases have been reported in the US — 44 of them passengers of the cruise.
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