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On Sunday, January 26, 2020, the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus in Orange County. The case involves a male in his 50's, who was a traveler from Wuhan, China. The individual is being treated at a local hospital, he is in isolation and in good condition.

On Monday, January 27, following unverified social media posts claiming the person infected with the virus was the parent of an Irvine Valley College (IVC) student, OCHCA informed college administration that there has been no evidence of person-to-person transmission of the virus in Orange County​.

Additionally, OCHCA officials stated that had there been any link of exposure to IVC students or staff, college officials would have been notified directly by the CDC and OCHCA. To date, no such notification has been made as no credible “close contact” link exists to any IVC student or staff member.

Realizing this is an area of concern to our community, please review this important information from the California Department of Public Health about novel coronavirus.

Novel coronavirus: What is it?

An outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus has been identified starting in Wuhan China. What is 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)? Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals and humans. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans. This novel coronavirus is a newly discovered coronavirus that has not been previously detected in animals or humans. The source of the novel coronavirus is not yet known.

What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)? Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, and shortness of breath.

If you have traveled to China, and you have become ill with fever, cough or shortness of breath, call your health care provider or local health department. Please be sure to tell your health care provider about your travel history. Stay home. Do not go to work or school, and avoid being in public places where you can spread the illness to others.

What is being done by the CDPH?

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is working closely with CDC to respond to the outbreak of this novel coronavirus. Screening of incoming passengers at two California airports is underway: Los Angeles International (LAX) and San Francisco International (SFO), both of which have the most arrivals from Wuhan China into California. This is to identify people who have symptoms that could be due to the coronavirus infection so that they can receive appropriate assessment and care.

Precautionary measures: Avoid contact with sick individuals, wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, and get a flu shot. With symptoms that are similar to the flu, it is another important reason to get a flu shot. Influenza activity remains at high levels across the Northern Hemisphere: everyone 6 months of age and older should be immunized to help protect from the dangers of flu.

Resources and updates on 2019 novel coronavirus: Orange County Public Health Agency: Novelcoronavirus in Orange County Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Novelcoronavirus in the US IVC administration will continue to closely monitor this situation and work with the appropriate agencies. We will provide additional updates as needed.