RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A second child who developed a fever while quarantined at March Air Reserve Base for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus was taken to Riverside University Medical Center for observation, but health officials today downplayed the likelihood of an infection.
“The youth developed a fever, but there were no other symptoms,” Riverside County Department of Public Health spokesman Jose Arballo told City News Service. “Out of an abundance of caution, we moved the child to the hospital.”
Arballo said the unidentified patient and the mother were transported by ambulance Wednesday night to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where the two were placed in an isolation ward. He said laboratory samples have been taken from the youth and “those are already headed to Atlanta” for screening by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to determine whether the patient is potentially viral.
“We hope, like before, the results come back negative,” Arballo told CNS.
On Wednesday, officials confirmed that another child removed Monday night from the quarantine site and hospitalized after exhibiting fever was not infected. That youth and a parent were returned to March to re-join the quarantine, where 195 people, most of them U.S. State Department employees and their loved ones, were placed under isolation last week after being evacuated from Wuhan, China.
County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday there was minimal likelihood of a coronavirus threat locally, saying “the flu is going to kill more residents than coronavirus.”
The doctor said multiple county agencies, in partnership with federal and state health authorities, were working in concert to adhere to a uniform protocol and were in a good “operational rhythm.”
He was unsure whether the federal government would place any more quarantine cases at March. According to Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, the federal Department of Health & Human Services informed his office earlier this week that two flights bound for California with individuals due for quarantine would not be landing at March. Four other military bases nationwide have been designated as quarantine sites.
According to Arballo, an individual who recently traveled to China and arrived Monday at Los Angeles International Airport, then placed in isolation away from the 195 others already at March, completed his quarantine Wednesday.
“He was screened and came back negative, so he was allowed to leave the base,” Arballo said.
The 14-day quarantine order for the others expires Feb. 11.
The novel coronavirus epidemic has claimed more than 560 lives in China, exceeding the death toll of the severe acute respiratory syndrome —SARS — outbreak of 2003. Nearly 28,000 infections have been documented in China. The respiratory illness is treatable, and many patients are recovering, according to reports.
Federal officials said there have been 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with six of those in California, including one case each in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Temporary quarantine and processing sites have been established at major airports, including LAX.
The virus was first identified by the Chinese government Dec. 31, when authorities indicated an unknown pneumonia variant was impacting residents of Hubei province.
Since then, the 2019-nCoV has been confirmed in several dozen countries, according to the World Health Organization.