Health and Science

CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case, a Wuhan evacuee quarantined at Texas military base

Key Points
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the 15th case of the new coronavirus in the U.S. on Thursday.
  • The patient arrived at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas on Feb. 7, the CDC said, and was placed under a 14-day federal quarantine order.
  • The latest case comes after the CDC announced Wednesday the 14th confirmed case in the U.S., an evacuee under quarantine in San Diego.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the 15th case of the new coronavirus in the U.S. on Thursday — an evacuee from China under quarantine at a military base in Texas.

The patient is among the Americans evacuated last week on a government-chartered flight from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The virus, COVID-19, has now infected more than 60,000 and killed at least 1,369.

The patient arrived at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas on Feb. 7, the CDC said, and was placed under a 14-day federal quarantine order. The CDC said this is the first person under quarantine at Lackland who tested positive for COVID-19.

San Antonio officials said at a news briefing Thursday there are 91 evacuees at the base. Their quarantine is slated to end on Feb. 20, CDC spokeswoman Jennifer McQuiston said.

The CDC said the patient is isolated and receiving medical care at a local hospital.

"There will likely be additional cases in the coming days and weeks, including among other people recently returned from Wuhan," the CDC said in a statement.

A man wears a masks in Chinatown following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Chicago, Illinois January 30, 2020.
Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters

The latest case comes after the CDC announced a 14th confirmed case in the U.S. on Wednesday. That patient was among other American evacuees from Wuhan who arrived last week at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

On Monday, the CDC announced the 13th case in the U.S., another evacuee under quarantine at Miramar. The new cases confirmed this week bring the number of infections among the roughly 800 Americans evacuated from Wuhan to three.

The CDC said Thursday more than 600 people remain in quarantine. The first 195 American evacuees from Wuhan were released on Tuesday from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, it said.

The CDC said Wednesday that it is preparing for COVID-19 to "take a foothold in the U.S."

"At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a conference call. "This will trigger a change in our response strategy."

However, the virus is not yet spreading rapidly from one person to another in the U.S., as it is in China. The CDC has confirmed two instances of person-to-person spread, in Chicago and California.

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