Coronavirus scare at USC prompts school officials to issue statement refuting false report

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An erroneous claim on social media of a student at USC contracting coronavirus prompted the school to issue a statement Tuesday morning denying anyone on campus was diagnosed with the virus.

At about 11:15 p.m. Monday, a comment on a post about the coronavirus on USC's Twitter account claimed a student at The Lorenzo student apartment complex had contracted the virus, prompting the school to respond.

"We want to provide an update to the USC Community because there has been an incorrect report that a student at the Lorenzo, an off-campus housing facility, has contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus,'' the statement issued around midnight read. "No one affiliated with USC has developed the illness.''

In a second statement issued about 12:50 a.m., school officials said a student at The Lorenzo was taken by ambulance to a hospital, but cited patient privacy laws in not providing additional details.

The university added that "there are no students or residents from the off-campus Lorenzo Apartments diagnosed or under evaluation for the 2019 novel coronavirus."

University officials insisted that notifications about possible coronavirus infections "occur through local public health authorities and will be communicated to the community.''

Meanwhile, a chartered jet carrying U.S. consulate employees from China is set to arrive in Ontario early Wednesday morning. The airport says all passengers - who are traveling from Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak - will go through multiple health checks.

There are five confirmed cases of the virus in the United States, with two in Southern California. The first case of novel coronavirus was confirmed in Orange County Saturday, and the first in Los Angeles County was reported Sunday.

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City News Service contributed to this report.
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