Two more people in the U.S. have tested positive for the deadly new coronavirus strain, bringing the total number across the country to five.
Both individuals, one in California and one in Arizona, tested positive for the virus after traveling to Wuhan, China, where the virus is believed to have originated, health officials in those states said Sunday.
The individual hospitalized in Los Angeles County, who has not been publicly identified, tested positive for the respiratory illness, also known as 2019-nCoV, after becoming ill and seeking medical attention, county health officials said in a release.
The individual in Arizona is described as being “a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing” in Tempe. The individual is not severely ill and is being kept in insolation to keep the illness from spreading, state health officials said.
Earlier cases in the U.S. have been confirmed in Orange County, California; Chicago; and Everett, Washington. Cases have also been reported in Thailand, Australia, France and Canada. No fatalities have been recorded outside China.
Health officials in both Arizona and California are assuring that there is no immediate threat to the general public.
“LA County is well prepared to manage cases and suspected cases of novel coronavirus,” said LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer. “We are working closely with our federal, state and local partners to provide healthcare providers and the public with accurate information about actions we are taking to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus and to care for those who are ill.”
As of Sunday, authorities in China say more than 2,000 people have become sick from the virus and 56 people have died.
China Health Minister Ma Xiaowei said the virus appears able to spread from one person to another before symptoms show.
“From observations, the virus is capable of transmission even during incubation period” of one to 14 days, Ma said Sunday, according to USA Today. “There are hidden carriers.”
Patients who contracted the virus have had a mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms may appear as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure, the CDC said.
“It’s important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary,” the CDC’s website states. “Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. It’s important to know this in order to better understand the risk associated with this virus.”