US Confirms 15th Coronavirus Case, First in Texas

By Zachary Stieber

The first confirmed coronavirus case in Texas was confirmed by U.S. officials on Thursday.

The patient who tested positive was part of a group evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the new virus, officially known as COVID-19. The patient was under federal quarantine with the rest of the group of evacuees at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. After showing symptoms, the patient was taken to a hospital and isolated before testing positive.

The patient is the first person under quarantine at the base who had symptoms and tested positive for the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement. The patient was the 15th person in the United States to test positive for COVID-19.

“There will likely be additional cases in the coming days and weeks, including among other people recently returned from Wuhan,” the CDC said. More than 600 people who were evacuated from Wuhan remain under federal quarantine in Texas, Nebraska, and California.

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Passengers board buses after arriving on an airplane carrying U.S. citizens being evacuated from Wuhan, China, at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif., on Jan. 29, 2020. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo)

Another 195 people—the first group that was evacuated—were released from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, on Tuesday after completing a two-week quarantine. None of those people tested positive for the virus, officials said.

The other confirmed cases in the United States are in California, Arizona, Washington state, Illinois, and Massachusetts. At least one, a patient in Washington, has been released from the hospital.

No deaths from the virus have been reported in the United States. An American did die from the virus in Wuhan. There have only been two deaths reported outside of China: one in the Philippines and one in Japan.

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A Chinese worker wears a protective mask as he has his temperature checked in a nearly empty and shuttered commercial street in Beijing on Feb. 12, 2020. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

U.S. officials started funneling people traveling from China to 11 airports across the country for screening and possible quarantine if they showed symptoms. Under an executive order from President Donald Trump, foreigners who have been to China within two weeks were blocked from entering the United States.

More than 30,000 people have been screened, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters in a phone call this week.

Officials are seeing “fewer and fewer travelers from China, especially from Hubei province,” which includes Wuhan, Messonnier said. Most people show no symptoms and weren’t labeled as high-risk. They were allowed to continue on to their final destinations and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

“Our goal is to be as least restrictive as possible” while protecting the health of all Americans, Messonnier said.

From The Epoch Times