LA County Declares State of Emergency for Coronavirus

One California man has died of the coronavirus, and six new cases have been confirmed in the state as outbreak fears continue

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a state of emergency Wednesday, March 4, after a California resident contracted and died from the coronavirus that originated from Wuhan, China, known as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2), a virus closely related to the SARS virus.

A 71-year-old man contracted the virus and later died after a cruise trip to Mexico that departed from San Francisco last month. The man resided in Placer County, located approximately 22 miles north of Sacramento.

State health officials are working to get in contact with other passengers who were on board the cruise ship over fears that the virus may have spread. Another passenger from the same cruise ship who was also exposed to the virus is currently hospitalized in Sonoma County.

COVID-19 affects the respiratory system and has symptoms of fever, cough and breathing difficulties. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with underlying conditions may be at higher risk of contracting the illness.

Currently, the virus is known to spread from close contact.

“Viral illnesses are unpredictable and can spread rapidly from person to person,” Michael Albertson, M.D., a gastroenterologist on staff at UCLA, said. “Prevention is basic care, with hand washing, avoiding large crowds and getting early testing for unexplained cough or fever.”

Other preventative measures that can be taken include using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, disinfecting surfaces, avoiding close contact with others and touching areas of the face.

Using a face mask is not recommended for those who are uninfected, as it is intended for those who are already infected to prevent spreading.

Staying home from work or school and out of public areas is recommended for those who are sick to prevent the spread of the virus.