County Confirms More Cases of Coronavirus as LA Marathon Approaches

Total number of cases in Los Angeles County now 11

By Sam Catanzaro

As the LA Marathon approaches and a day after declaring a state of local emergency, Los Angeles County officials have confirmed four additional cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 11.

According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (Public Health), these four additional positive cases announced Thursday are part of a group of travelers who were in Northern Italy, the same group of travelers announced yesterday.

“Public Health has identified persons who may have had close personal contact with these individuals, including any friends, family members or health care professionals, to assess and monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness. All confirmed cases are being isolated and close contacts are quarantined. There are no known significant exposures to the general public,” Public Health said in a statement.

On Wednesday, March 4 both the County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles declared states of local emergencies in response to six confirmed cases of coronavirus.

There have now been 11 confirmed cases in the county this year. The very first case — a person who had traveled from Wuhan, China was reported on Jan. 26. That patient recovered and is no longer infectious, according to public health officials.

On Tuesday Kaiser Permanente in West Los Angeles confirmed it was overseeing the care of an infected patient at home in self-isolation being treated on an outpatient basis.

Amidst this news, organizers for the Los Angeles Marathon, which ends in Santa Monica, say the race on course to proceed.

“All Los Angeles Marathon weekend activities are scheduled to take place as planned. Safety is always our first priority and our operations team has been in consistent dialogue with local authorities and monitoring developments related to all safety aspects of the Marathon including coronavirus,” race officials said in a statement. “If circumstances change, we will work closely with local, state and federal authorities to implement any necessary plans and protocols for the marathon.”

Race officials say that they have taken measures to increase hand sanitizer stations at the race expo, start line, along the route and finish festival. In addition, officials have deferred entries for any runner traveling from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy, South Korea and Iran.

“The number of participants with mailing addresses from Level 4 countries is .06% of our total participants,” officials said.

The City of Santa Monica says there are no known cases in Santa Monica and that they are working closely with the L.A. County Department of Public Health to monitor coronavirus.

“We are aligned closely with local hospitals, schools, businesses, and community organizations to ensure that our community members know where to access the latest official coronavirus information, how to be prepared, and any impacts on our city,” said Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole. “We have contingency plans in place and our team is trained in multi-hazard emergency coordination, including working with our partners at LA County Department of Public Health for this type of public health crisis.”

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