Pictured: An abstract of the 2019 novel coronavirus.  2019-nCoV

by Kimberly Rivers

As of press deadline on Wed., Feb. 5, there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ventura County. One individual in the county has tested negative for the novel coronavirus. Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County Public Health (VCPH) officer, confirmed that the county is still waiting for the test results from the second person being tested.

Earlier this month the county had two suspected cases of the virus, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) directed the county to test both people for the coronavirus. The first test came back negative. Levin said both people were fully compliant with home isolation. The county also gathered information about where each individual had gone and their public interactions, which would be used in the event of a positive test result.

The CDC in Atlanta is processing the samples and conducting the testing.

According to the CDC, the coronavirus includes many virus types and is common in animals and humans. In some rare cases, certain strains can transmit from animals to humans. An outbreak in the Wuhan area of China involves a “newly discovered” strain of the virus that hasn’t been seen before; the source is not yet known, and the virus has been found in over a dozen countries. Three confirmed cases have been found in California, in Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Clara counties. Thousands are infected in China, and at least 490 have died globally. In San Diego, 350 U.S. citizens have arrived from Wuhan and are being screened for the virus at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

Symptoms can include fever, cough or shortness of breath. VCPH states that usually coronaviruses “cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness.” VCPH is asking any members of the public who have recently traveled to China and have those symptoms to contact their doctors and inform them of their travel history.

Prevention tips are similar to avoiding the flu: Wash hands with soap and water, and avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If someone becomes sick with respiratory symptoms — fever and cough — they should not attend work, school or go to other public places.

More information: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.