Mayor London Breed announced measures to respond to the threat of the coronavirus on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Corey Browning/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

SF officials prepare for coronavirus response

San Francisco city officials on Monday said they have activated The City’s emergency operations center to coordinate the response to the spreading novel coronavirus.

“San Francisco is ready to respond,” said Mayor London Breed during a press conference held in the operations center.

Though no cases of the virus have been confirmed in the Bay Area, city officials say they have been monitoring the situation and activated the operations center to better coordinate city resources. Bay Area residents who have not recently traveled to Wuhan, China where the virus was discovered late last month are at low risk, according to the Department of Public Health.

All incoming flights from Wuhan to SFO have been grounded as of Thursday and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently conducting screenings at SFO of passengers who may have come in contact with the virus.

Alameda County officials have said that fewer than 10 people have been tested for the virus, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, with results pending. However, San Francisco health officials have not released information regarding tests in San Francisco County, and will only report confirmed cases “in order to not confuse the public,” according to Dr. Tomás Aragón from the Department of Public Health.

It was previously reported that U.S. State Department personnel were being evacuated from Wuhan to San Francisco. According to Ivar Satero, Director of the San Francisco International airport, that flight will now arrive through Anchorage, Alaska before heading to Ontario, California, with multiple screenings along the way.

The virus has spread to at least 14 countries and caused 80 or more deaths. Five people in the United States who recently traveled to Wuhan have tested positive, including two cases in southern California and cases in Washington, Arizona and Illinois, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which warns that more cases will likely be reported in coming days.

The virus’s flu-like symptoms mean a patient’s travel history is the defining factor when it comes to diagnosing the illness, according to Aragón, who recommends standard illness prevention practices like washing hands, covering coughs and staying home when sick to avoid illness similar to the coronavirus. Face masks are not necessary, he noted.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging anyone experiencing lower respiratory symptoms and fever who has recently travelled to the Hubei Province of China to call their health care provider before going to the hospital in person.

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