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California lawmakers look to federal health officials to help stop spread of coronavirus


WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – The first group of American travelers evacuated from the city in China where the coronavirus broke out is now being monitored in California.

Meantime, there are now at least two confirmed cases of the virus in the Golden State and lawmakers are looking for information to help protect the public. 

California lawmakers say they need more information to be sure their constituents safe as Americans evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak arrive in their state. 

“It is our responsibility to provide real time information to the general public,” said Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif. 

The first group of passengers from Wuhan, China, were scheduled to land at the busy Ontario airport in Congresswoman Torres’ district but officials diverted the flight to an Air Reserve Base in Riverside. 

Torres says federal health officials need a plan to prevent a serious coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

“We want to make sure those plans are in place and that we’re coordinating properly with local and state agencies,” Rep. Torres said. 

Some members of Congress are now calling on the CDC to hold private briefings specifically focused on Southern California, where two coronavirus cases have been confirmed.

“We all want to take swift action to contain the number of exposed people, but to do this we need facts and information and science,” said. Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif.  

One confirmed case is in Rep. Porter’s Orange County district.

She says Congress should ensure the state’s health centers and hospitals have the resources they need. 

Congressman Ami Bera, D-Calif., says despite the risk, he supports efforts to evacuate Americans. 

“Reports coming out of China, and China’s not always the most transparent nation, look very concerning right now,” Rep. Bera said. “This is where China needs to allow the rest of the world to get to the epicenter.

He says China’s cooperation is essential as the number of cases in the U.S. continues to rise. 

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