A second case of the new coronavirus has been confirmed in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday morning.
The patient, a woman in her 60s, is hospitalized in Chicago, and is reportedly doing well. She had traveled to Wuhan, China in December, and flew home to Illinois on January 13. She was not symptomatic on the flight home.
This is the second coronavirus case in the U.S. The first is a man in his 30s who fell ill after returning to his home in Washington state following a trip to Wuhan, China.
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He is said to be recovering, but remained hospitalized at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington on Friday.
Health officials in the U.S. are taking extraordinary steps to try to stop the spread of this illness, including screening passengers who arrive at U.S. airports from China, quarantining them if necessary, and isolating patients with confirmed disease.
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Hospitals across the U.S. routinely go through drills to prepare for highly infectious diseases, as was the case at the hospital in Everett just weeks before the first coronavirus patient arrived.
“We had just practiced for housing a patient with Ebola,” Dr. George Diaz, head of the infectious disease program at Providence Regional Medical Center, told NBC News this week. The coronavirus is much different than Ebola virus, and is likely nowhere near as fatal.
But the training meant health care workers were able to get the man into an isolation room quickly.
The hospital also limited the number of people permitted in the patient’s room, using a remote-controlled robot instead to do an exam.
Health officials are also keeping an eye on 43 people the Washington man had been in contact with after returning from China. Those people are not under quarantine, but have been asked to watch for symptoms and take their temperature daily.
By far, most cases of the new coronavirus have been limited to China, where more than 800 cases have been reported. At least 26 people have died.
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