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California confirms second US coronavirus case of unknown origin

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By Agence France-Presse 

California health officials on Friday confirmed the second case in the United States of the new coronavirus believed to have been transmitted to a person who did not travel overseas or come in contact with anyone known to be ill.

A man wears a facemask while pushing his shopping cart in Alhambra, California on February 27, 2020. - Health and emergency-management officials said today to a Los Angeles City Council committee that there is "no reason to panic" locally about the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, that has spread globally, but added preventative measures are being taken. There has been only one case of the coronavirus detected in Los Angeles County and that person has since been treated and cleared of the virus, though it stayed with the patient for 21 days, health officials said. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

A man wears a facemask while pushing his shopping cart in Alhambra, California on February 27, 2020. – Health and emergency-management officials said today to a Los Angeles City Council committee that there is “no reason to panic” locally about the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, that has spread globally, but added preventative measures are being taken.  (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” said Sara Cody, director of public health for Santa Clara County, near San Francisco.

“What we know now is that the virus is here, present at some level, but we still don’t know to what degree,” she added.

The patient in the second case of community spread of COVID-19, as the virus is called, is an adult woman with chronic health issues. She is being treated at a local hospital.

Cody said the woman’s doctor had reached out to health officials on Wednesday evening, concerned she may have contracted the virus.

Authorities have identified dozens of people the woman had come in contact with and they were quarantined in their homes.

“An important priority… for us is to conduct public health surveillance to determine the extent of what’s happening,” Cody said.

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