Thousands in California being monitored for coronavirus: governor

A man wearing a face mask walks through the Chinatown section of San Francisco, California, U.S., February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) – California health officials are monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus symptoms after their arrival on domestic commercial flights, but the state had only a limited supply of test kits available, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday.

The state currently has only about 200 test kits, an “inadequate” number, but has been in “constant contact with federal agencies” that have promised to send a fresh supply of kits in coming days, he said at news briefing in Sacramento.

The outbreak has infected nearly 80,000 people in China and killed more than 2,700. It has now spread to another 44 countries with 3,246 cases and 51 deaths reported.

In the United States, the federal government said it is dispatching test kits nationwide and promised funding legislation within the next two weeks.

California officials said 33 people had tested positive for the virus there, but five had since left the state.

The state on Wednesday reported the first known case of the virus in the United States of unknown origin. The patient had not recently traveled to an area with a reported outbreak, and was not exposed to another known infected person.

Dr. Sonia Angell, California’s state public health officer, said local, state and federal health investigators were contacting and isolating individuals who may have been exposed to the patient in what could be the first U.S. case of local “community spread.”

Reporting by Hilary Russ, Editing by Franklin Paul and Bill Berkrot