At least 8,300 Californians are being monitored for the Coronavirus, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Meanwhile the virus has begun impacting the global economy as the stock market plunged for the fourth day in a row.
China’s 70,000 movie theaters — the most of any country in the world — are closing their curtains. Japan is closing its schools for a month.
Newsom’s statement came one day after a California patient was identified as the first case in the US of “community spread” the Centers for Disease Control said on Wednesday.
Community spread means the patient has no known exposure to the virus or an individual carrying the disease, which have led to fears of an outbreak in the U.S.
All of the 59 other cases in the U.S. have been for people who had traveled abroad or had close contact with others who traveled. Health officials have been on high alert for so-called community spread.
Nearly 3,000 people have died and almost 90,000 people are suffering from the virus which has reached every continent in the world save Antarctica.
At least 35 million people have been quarantined around the world.
San Diego County was joined this week by Orange County and San Francisco in declaring a state of emergency because of the coronavirus, and growing fears have begun to impact the nation’s economy as the stock market plunged for the fourth day in a row.
Currently there are no known patients in Pasadena.
City Manager Steve Mermell on Tuesday said Health Director Ying Ying Goh has been “very engaged with county, state and federal officials as it relates to the Coronavirus.”
Goh and doctors at Huntington Hospital are set to conduct before the City Council at the next meeting on March 9.
“Given the spread of the disease, there is certainly cause for concern,” Mermell said. “However, we need to be mindful of not prompting panic or undue fear on the part of residents. Our response needs to be based on facts and information.”
Meanwhile, officials in Pasadena said they have no kits, despite claims from the CDC that testing kits had been sent to cities with public health departments.
“Everybody in this country is rightfully anxious about this moment,” Newsom said. “I think they should know we are meeting this moment with the kind of urgency that is necessary and I don’t want to over extend the anxiety.”
Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Brian McDonald issued a statement on Thursday.
“On Tuesday, officials from the Centers for Disease Control warned that the novel coronavirus will almost certainly spread in the United States, and that schools and businesses should prepare for a possible pandemic,” McDonald said.
“We understand that this statement may be creating concerns for our school community. While the fact remains that there is still only one confirmed case in L.A. County, PUSD is preparing and planning to keep our students and staff safe. At this time, there are no plans for imminent school closures.
PUSD is updating protocols and preparing plans for virtual learning for schools in the event of a prolonged emergency of any kind, including coronavirus. We will keep you updated as this plan develops. Information is also posted at pusd.us.”
California Health and Human Services Agency Director Mark Ghaly said health officials would change the way they test for the virus by “shifting from order and community containment to one where we acknowledge that community spread is possible.”
Newsom said the state also currently has a shortage of coronavirus testing kits and has worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update the testing protocols for the coronavirus.
“The only testing currently available is at the CDC lab in Atlanta,” said Public Health Director Ying Ying Goh. “We are awaiting testing capability at the state public health lab, but no timeline has been given.”
California only has 200 testing kits for the coronavirus and Newsom said the number of available kits from the CDC will be “exponentially expanded” starting Thursday afternoon.
“That is simply inadequate to do justice to the kind of testing we need,” said Newsom.