By Jack Phillips

Five U.S. cases of Wuhan coronavirus were announced Sunday—with a one being confirmed by health officials in Los Angeles County and the latest case being confirmed by Maricopa County, Arizona, officials.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Sunday that the sickened person “presented themselves for care once they noticed that they were not feeling well,” adding that the person had recently traveled to the United States from Wuhan, China, where hundreds of people have been infected by the contagious virus.

A statement released on Sunday by the Arizona Department of Health Services said the fifth U.S. patient as “a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing.”

Chinese officials have said that more than 76 people have died since the outbreak was first reported in late December.

Three other U.S. coronavirus cases have been confirmed—in Washington state, Illinois, and Orange County, California. The Orange County patient—confirmed by health officials on Jan. 25—is in good condition and in isolation at the hospital. That person had also traveled recently to Wuhan and tested positive.

“There is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness,” L.A. County Public Health stated.

The agency said it’s now working to identify anyone who might have come into close contact with the infected person and is monitoring for possible coronavirus symptoms.

“Health is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal, state and local agencies to monitor this novel coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan, China, over the past few weeks. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available,” the department stated.

The new strain of coronavirus, known officially as 2019-nCoV, can cause pneumonia and respiratory illnesses. Officials originally suspected it had been spreading from animals to people in a market in Wuhan, but there have been indications that it’s spreading from person to person.

In the Washington state and Illinois cases, both patients had recently traveled to China. They were identified in previous reports as a man in his 30s and a woman in her 60s.

The CDC expects more U.S. cases of coronavirus to emerge in the coming days. Its assessment was based on prior outbreaks of infectious viruses such as SARS and MERS.

“It’s likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur,” the health agency said on its website last week.

But in China, the situation appears far direr, with the mayor of Wuhan, Zhou Xianwang, telling reporters Jan. 26 that he expects 1,000 new cases of coronavirus in the coming days. More specialized hospitals will be constructed to deal with the patients, he said.

The Chinese health emergency has prompted the U.S. Department of State to issue an alert to its American staff and private citizens in Wuhan.

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