New York City’s First Possible Coronavirus Patient Tested at Manhattan Hospital

February 2, 2020 Updated: February 2, 2020
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New York City health officials said Feb. 1 that a possible coronavirus patient is being treated at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital.

The patient, who is under 40, recently traveled to China and had a “fever and cough or shortness of breath without another common cause, like influenza and other cold viruses,” the health department said in a statement on Twitter.

It’s not clear if that person, whose identity is being kept private, had traveled to coronavirus epicenter Wuhan, where Chinese regime officials have implemented lockdowns and quarantines.

The patient didn’t spend extended time with friends or family after heading back to New York City, said Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to local media outlets.

The mayor called on New Yorkers to go to the hospital if they believe they are showing symptoms related to coronavirus.

“New Yorkers should go about our lives, continue doing what we do normally,” de Blasio said. “If this is a positive case, we will confirm that publicly right away,” he told reporters, according to the New York Post.

Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said at a press conference that the virus can only be spread through droplets of bodily fluids from infected persons.

“Right now, we feel confident that the most likely way to be infected by the coronavirus is by having extended contact with household contacts and family members that may live together,” she said.

In the United States so far, eight cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. The latest was confirmed in Boston, in a patient who had recently traveled to Wuhan.

“We are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately,” said Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel in a statement on Feb. 1.

“Massachusetts has been preparing for a possible case of this new coronavirus, and we were fortunate that astute clinicians took appropriate action quickly. Again, the risk to the public from the 2019 novel coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts.”

The case was confirmed a day after Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in the United States due to the virus.

The White House also said it won’t allow some people who have been in China recently to enter the United States because of the risk they pose in transmitting the virus. This policy will apply to foreign nationals who have traveled to China within the past 14 days, but not to immediate family members of American citizens or permanent residents.

Officials have said that people who have been in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, within the past 14 days will have to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon arrival in the United States. Anyone traveling from other areas of China will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“These prudent, targeted and temporary actions will decrease the pressure on public health officials screening incoming travelers, expedite the processing of U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning from China, and ensure resources are focused on the health and safety of the American people,” Azar said in a statement.