- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2020

A coronavirus patient in California who may be the first instance of community spread in the U.S. was admitted to a hospital on Feb. 19 but not tested until Sunday, according to the Sacramento facility.

The University of California-Davis Medical Center says the patient was admitted that Wednesday from “another northern California hospital” with a suspected viral infection.

Doctors requested testing for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new virus from China, but there was a delay because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not think the patient met the criteria, such as travel history to hard-hit places.


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“Neither Sacramento County nor the California Department of Public Health is doing testing for coronavirus at this time. 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,” said Brad Simmons, interim CEO and chief operating officer for UC Davis Medical Center.

The patient was tested Sunday and returned a positive result Wednesday.



The hospital’s statement does not refer to the lag time but it was revealed in an internal memo obtained by The Sacramento Bee and other outlets.

Federal officials disclosed the patient late Wednesday, saying it was the 15th case discovered within the U.S. — 45 patients were repatriated from China and Japan — and appeared to be the nation’s first case of local transmission. Other known cases have shown up in travelers from China or their spouses in the U.S.

The CDC announced the case shortly after a White House briefing in which President Trump exuded confidence about his administration’s response. He said the problem in the U.S. may get worse but that it’s under control and will end in due time.

He put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the response moving forward.

UC-Davis said the hospital is used to treating infectious diseases and has “robust” controls in place. It has been taking “contact-droplet” precautions since the patient arrived, since it was clear the patient had a viral infection of some kind.

“Out of an abundance of caution, in order to assure the health and safety of our employees, we are asking a small number of employees to stay home and monitor their temperature,” Mr. Simmons said. “We are handling this in the same way we manage other diseases that require airborne precautions and monitoring.”

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