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3rd US case of coronavirus confirmed as death toll rises to 56 in China

jarun011/iStock(NEW YORK) —  A third U.S. case of the deadly coronavirus was confirmed in California as the death toll from the disease rose to 56 in China, authorities said.The latest case of the novel virus was announced Saturday night when a patient in Orange County, California, tested positive for the virus, which has caused worldwide alarm, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The patient, who was not identified, had recently returned to the United States after traveling in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the illness, authorities said. “The individual has now been transported to a local hospital and is in isolation in good condition,” the Orange County Health Care Agency said in a statement.Orange County officials are working with the CDC and the California Department of Public Health to reach people who have come in close contact with the patient and “are at risk of infection,” according to the statement.”There is no evidence that person-to-person transmission has occurred in Orange County. The current risk of local transmission remains low,” the statement reads.The California case comes after a man in his 30s hospitalized near Seattle was diagnosed with the coronavirus, and tests confirmed a woman in her 60s in Chicago had contracted the disease, officials said. Both patients had recently traveled to China.Health authorities in Texas are investigating a suspected coronavirus case in a Texas A&M student, according to the local health department. The student, who recently traveled to Wuhan, went to an emergency department Wednesday with a cough and congestion.Surveillance for the virus at international airports in the U.S. has intensified, with airports in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago screening travelers from Wuhan. The Public Health Agency of Canada announced on Sunday that the country is dealing with its first case of coronavirus in a patient in the Province of Ontario.”The patient who recently returned from Wuhan, China, is isolated and under care,” Canadian health officials said in a statement.Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, said the case was not unexpected.”Although we now have a case in Canada, the risk to Canadians remains low,” Tam said at a news conference.Besides Canada and the United States, health officials in France, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea have confirmed cases of coronavirus.At least 56 people have died from the virus in China, and tests have confirmed that another 2,029 people in the country have contracted the illness.The majority of the cases have been found in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province and a city with a population of more than 11 million people. About 9 million people in the city have been put on lockdown as a precaution, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang revealed said at a news conference on Sunday.Health officials in China said the virus’ ability to spread appears to be getting stronger, adding that 2,692 patients are under observation but have not yet been confirmed to have the virus.Meanwhile, authorities in Hong Kong have banned anyone who has been in the Hubei province in the last 14 days.Coronavirus, a family of viruses that include SARS, MERS and the common cold, can jump from animal to human hosts.Scientists have competing theories about the animal source behind the virus. In addition to bats, which scientists have speculated about since the beginning of the outbreak, and which were implicated in the SARS outbreak, a group of researchers published paper last week, theorizing that snakes are the most likely reservoir behind the outbreak. Neither theory has been confirmed. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.