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Coronavirus patient at UC Davis Medical Center believed to be country's first case spread in community, health officials confirm

The person, who is being treated in Sacramento County, was not exposed to the virus through traveling or through contact with someone who was known to be infected.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — A Solano County resident is being treated in Sacramento for the coronavirus, the first confirmed person-to-person case in California, health officials confirmed Wednesday.

The person, who has not been identified, was not exposed to the virus through traveling or through contact with someone who was known to be infected, according to California Department of Public Health officials.

"We have been anticipating the potential for such a case in the U.S., and given our close familial, social and business relationships with China, it is not unexpected that the first case in the U.S. would be in California," said Dr. Sonia Angell, the director of the CDPH.

This new case is the first known person-to-person transmission spread in the community in the United States.

According to an internal memo obtained by ABC10, one patient has been receiving treatment at UC Davis Medical Center since Feb. 19. The person, brought to the hospital from another Northern California facility, was already "intubated, was on a ventilator, and given droplet protection orders because of an undiagnosed and suspected viral condition."

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Last week, the hospital asked the CDC to test the patient for the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. According to the memo, "since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered. UC Davis Health does not control the testing process."

Eventually, on Sunday, the CDC ordered a test, and on Wednesday, the hospital told its employees the patient had tested positive for the virus.

"This is not the first COVID-19 patient we have treated," the memo read, "and because of the precautions we have had in place since this patient's arrival, we believe there has been minimal potential for exposure here at UC Davis Medical Center."

Officials at UC Davis confirmed that the patient is the Solano County resident announced Wednesday by state health officials.

There are 57 confirmed case of the virus in the country, according to the CDC. The CDC has categorized infections into separate categories: 14 have been infected in travel-related incidents and 43 infections were among individuals repatriated in the U.S.

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Earlier this month, hundreds of Americans were evacuated from China, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, and taken to the Travis Air Force Base in Solano County for quarantine. After two weeks, many of those quarantined on the base were released.

Officials with the CDC told ABC10 that this new case is not related to the evacuees at the Air Force Base.

The announcement of the new case comes on the same day that President Donald Trump held his first press conference regarding the virus one day after attempting to minimize the fears of the virus in the country.

Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead the U.S. response to the virus and said he'd be open to spending more than the $2.5 billion the administration requested for efforts against the virus.

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