Colorado patient being tested for coronavirus

Colorado patient being tested for coronavirus

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A patient at a Colorado hospital is being tested for coronavirus.

Centura – St. Anthony Hospital said they have a patient with respiratory illness who also has traveled to Wuhan, China, so they are testing that person for novel coronavirus per protocol with the Colorado Department of Health. 

That patient has been placed in an isolation unit until the tests come back from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which will take several days, the hospital said. 

The hospital said the public health risk is considered low at this point. 

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“It’s actually a cold virus,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, medical director of Infection, Prevention, and Control at UCHealth’s University of Colorado Hospital. “It’s one of the most common cold viruses that we see every year.”

The new coronavirus strain, yet to be named, originated in Wuhan, China where hundreds have been infected.

So far, two people in the U.S. have officially been diagnosed with the virus. There have also been two confirmed cases in France.

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The CDC said that they are monitoring 63 people from 22 states for possible cases of the virus, health officials said.

But the CDC stressed that the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered low at this time. Health officials said it’s likely more cases will be reported in the U.S. in the coming days and weeks. 

Barron’s team has been monitoring it since December and has added travel screenings for patients at their hospital.

RELATED: Coloradans monitoring coronavirus outbreak, no local cases reported

“We’d rather ask the questions and be safe than find out ‘uh oh, somebody was here and now we have this information that makes us worry,'” Barron said.

Barron says, however, a person in the U.S. is far more likely to get the flu even if they’ve traveled.

The CDC said that there are simple daily precautions that everyone should always take. Health officials recommend everyone get the flu vaccine, take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and take flu antivirals if prescribed. 

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