California hospital workers exposed to coronavirus, told to stay home: officials

At least five workers at a hospital in San Jose, Calif., have been told to stay home after they were exposed to a patient with the novel coronavirus.

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The workers, who were not identified, were exposed to the deadly virus after a patient, who was later confirmed to be Santa Clara County’s first coronavirus case, visited the emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital on Jan. 28 seeking treatment for his symptoms. Santa Clara County Public Health officials then confirmed the case on Jan. 31.

The workers are instructed to stay home until Feb. 11, The Mercury News reports.

“This is being done to protect the public's health and limit any potential spread of the virus," the Santa Clara County Public Health Department said in a statement Tuesday, according to local news station KNTV. 

A second but unrelated case of coronavirus was confirmed on Feb. 2. Both patients recently traveled to Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the outbreak — before becoming ill, health officials said.

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The death toll from coronavirus reached 490 on Wednesday. More than 24,000 people have been infected worldwide. Overall, at least 25 countries have reported cases of coronavirus. Currently, the U.S. has confirmed 11 cases -- six in California, one in Arizona, one in Washington state, one in Massachusetts and two in Illinois. No deaths have been reported in the U.S., and the large majority of cases still remain in China.