Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: U.S. Has First Diagnosed Case of Coronavirus
EDM Wednesday Briefing: U.S. Has First Diagnosed Case of Coronavirus

EDM Wednesday Briefing: U.S. Has First Diagnosed Case of Coronavirus


Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 22, 2019: The United States has its first diagnosed case of the novel coronavirus that originated in China; the CDC is closely monitoring the 2019-nCoV outbreak and has set up a series of phone calls to help inform local and state partners; Australia faces new fire danger risks just days after storms helped firefighters with containment efforts; two counties in Illinois are modernizing dispatching equipment to speed response times; South Korea is dispatching a ship to assist with security efforts in the Strait of Hormuz; Brazil has charged the ex-CEO and others from Vale SA and TÜV-SÜD with murder and environmental crimes; a commuter train in New York slammed into a tractor-trailer and split it in half; and seven countries may be added to the U.S. travel ban list.

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1) The first case of the coronavirus from China has been diagnosed in the United States in a man who recently traveled to Wuhan, China. The man returned to his home in Snohomish County, north of Seattle, on January 15, and he was quarantined at a local hospital after diagnosis. The U.S. is the fifth country to have a reported case of the new coronavirus, with China reporting a total of nine deaths amid challenges by health officials to control the adapting and mutating disease.

2) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the new coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which has now spread to five other countries, including the United States. Screening has been set up at major cities in a number of countries to screen travelers from Wuhan. To keep state and local partners informed of U.S. preparedness efforts and keep them appraised of the latest information on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the CDC has set up a series of national calls that will take place on Mondays from 3:00-4:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST).

3) Bushfires continue to rage in parts of Australia, with a new, 222-acre swift-moving fire breaking out near the airport in Canberra. Victoria returned to severe fire danger levels on Wednesday, just days after storms pelted the fire-ravaged region. Government officials have also called the wildfires an ecological disaster. The massive fires -- which have scorched more than 27.7 million acres and killed at least 29 people -- have destroyed 80 percent of unique habitats for many wild animals and threatened to make some rare species extinct.

4) Two counties in Illinois are modernizing dispatching and improving response times after receiving funding approval for new automated dispatch equipment. The new system, set to be installed in Rockford and Winnebago counties, will allow up to five calls to be dispatched simultaneously. Currently, dispatchers have to wait to dispatch one call before they can dispatch others. The automated equipment uses text-to-speech technology. Fire stations will have modules that light up, an alarm that will sound, and an audible voice to announce the information about the emergency type and location.

5) South Korea is deploying an anti-piracy unit that operates near the coast of Africa to the Strait of Hormuz. Oil tanker attacks in the area in 2019 prompted the United States to call on allies to assist with a planned maritime security mission. The temporary expansion of the Cheonghae military unit from South Korea will help ensure the safety of citizens, along with the safe passage of South Korean oil tankers, even though the nation will not officially join a coalition of forces known as the International Maritime Security Construct.

6) Brazil has charged the ex-CEO of Vale SA with homicide, following the tailings dam disaster that occurred in the country in 2019. In all, murder and environmental charges were filed against 16 individuals, including 11 people that worked for Vale, and five that were employed by TÜV-SÜD, a German-based company responsible for inspecting the dam. The Vale tailings dam in Brumadinho, Brazil, failed on January 25, killing at least 270 people in one of the world's deadliest mining accidents.

7) A commuter train slammed into a tractor-trailer in New York, splitting the trailer in half. The incident occurred at a railroad crossing about 35 miles north of Manhattan in the village of Sloatsburg around 6:30 p.m. There were no reports of any injuries due to the collision, but service was suspended along the Port Jervis line in both directions for about two hours.

8) Seven more countries may be added to the U.S. travel ban list. The seven countries under consideration are Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania -- although according to reports, the ban may only affect some visa categories for some countries. Additions to the U.S. travel ban list can occur due to countries failing to comply with security requirements, including counter-terrorism measures and information sharing.


Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.