NYC’s First Possible Coronavirus Patient Tested at Manhattan Hospital


(NBC 4/WETM) – A person living in New York City was tested for coronavirus at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, according to health officials.

The New York City Department of Health reported the city’s first case on Saturday. The patient, under the age of 40, recently traveled to New York from China and “presented with fever and cough or shortness of breath without another common cause, like influenza and other cold viruses,” the department said.

The department said testing takes a minimum of 36-48 hours, depending on CDC capacity.

At a press conference from the hospital Saturday evening, a doctor said the patient arrived at the hospital exhibiting a fever, cough and runny nose.

The patient did not spend extended time with family or friends after returning to New York City this week, de Blasio said. He also stressed that all New Yorkers should visit a hospital immediately if they think they are exhibiting symptoms related to coronavirus.

“New Yorkers should go about our lives, continue doing what we do normally,” de Blasio said.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city’s health commissioner, said coronavirus is spread through extended contact with another person.

“This is not something you are going to contract in the subway or on the bus, and we want New Yorkers to practice everyday precautions that we ordinarily share during this time of year. Which is to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouths and nose when you cough or you sneeze,” Dr. Balbot said.

Barbot said the patient fly into the city from mainland China, but did not know if the flight was direct.

Enhanced health screenings at John F. Kennedy Airport, as well as at SFO, LAX, ORD and ATL, are being coordinated by the CDC and CBP (Customs and Border Protection). The screenings serve to “identify travelers with overt signs of illness,” a CBP spokesperson said Saturday.

New York State officials previously reported four possible patients on Jan. 24, but no cases of coronavirus were confirmed.

National health officials have confirmed eight cases of coronavirus across the United States.

The eighth diagnosis, and first along the East Coast, was reported in Boston, Massachusetts. The patient is a university student who recently traveled from Wuhan, China.

He is currently quarantined at his home and will continue to be isolated until he is cleared by public health officials, according to Saturday’s news release.

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