Officials in both states raced to contact people who might have been exposed to the coronavirus, and experts warned that the cases could indicate signs of spread within the United States.
Two new and unexplained cases of coronavirus emerged in Northern California and in Oregon on Friday, and health officials in both states quickly moved to contact people who might have been exposed. Experts warned that the cases could indicate signs of spread within the United States.
Oregon health officials said they had identified a school employee in the Portland area who appears to have contracted the coronavirus more than a week ago. The patient, who had not recently traveled to China, has had symptoms since Feb. 19 and may have exposed students and staff at a school in Clackamas County, officials said.
Oregon announcement followed one earlier Friday in Santa Clara County, Calif., where officials said a patient with no known risk factors had tested positive for the virus.
The findings hint that the coronavirus may already be circulating locally in the United States, passing from person to person.
Earlier this week, a woman who had no known risk factors tested positive for the virus in Solano County, between San Francisco and Sacramento. Hundreds of Americans who were potentially exposed to the virus in Asia have been quarantined at military bases in California, including Travis Air Force Base in Solano County.
A whistle-blower complaint made public on Thursday alleged that federal health officials were sent into quarantine areas at the bases without proper training or protective gear, and then were allowed to roam around, on and off the bases.
Workers in Santa Clara County have been rushing to identify anyone an infected person had been in contact with.
Italian police at a checkpoint in the quarantined town of Zorlesco, on Friday.Credit…
Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times
From eastern Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa, a steady stream of new cases on Friday fueled fears that the new coronavirus epidemic may be turning into a global pandemic, with some health officials saying it may be inevitable.
In South Korea, Italy and Iran — the countries with the biggest outbreaks outside China — the governments reported more than 3,500 infections on Friday, about twice as many as two days earlier, and South Korea reported almost 600 more on Saturday. South Korean officials were rushing to test thousands of members of a church at the center of that country’s outbreak.