A San Francisco Public Works Community Clean volunteer wearing a face mask removes trash on a street in the Chinatown district of San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday the state is currently monitoring at least 8,400 people for COVID-19, a day after health officials confirmed the first possible community transmission of the coronavirus in a Solano County resident. 

“This is a fluid situation right now and I want to emphaize the risk to the American public remains low,” said Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer during a press conference. “There have been a limited number of confirmed cases to date.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t know exactly how the new California patient, who’s receiving medical care in Sacramento County, contracted the virus. The patient didn’t have a relevant travel history or exposure to another patient with the virus, the CDC said Wednesday.

California health officials said the patient wasn’t under quarantine before her diagnosis and was out and about in her community. 

“We are currently in deep partnership with CDC on one overriding protocol that drives our principle focus right now and that’s testing, and the importance to increase our testing protocols and to have point of contact diagnostic testing as our top priority not just in the state of California but I imagine all across the United States,” Newsom said at a press conference.

California health officials have 200 testing kits on hand and will be receiving more over the next few days, Newsom said. 

“We have just a few hundred testing kits and that’s surveillance testing as well as diagnostic testing. That’s simply inadequate to do justice to the kind of testing that is required to address this issue head on,” he said.

Newsom said that the CDC has made “firm commitments” to improve the state’s testing capacity, but did not provide details, such as how many testing kits the agency has agreed to send to the state.

California received the first flight in late January of people evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the epidemic. All 195 passengers were quarantined on the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County and released earlier this month. The state also took evacuees in at the Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, roughly 40 miles southwest of Sacramento, and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego.

“We coordinated those first flights, that first flight in particular, in January, late January down into Riverside at March,” Newsom said. “Over 800 people have come in on those flights, but that’s a small part of the overall picture. Thousands and thousands of other people have come in on more traditional flights through the state of California.”

CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this article.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here