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First U.S. Patient With Coronavirus ID’d in Washington State

Patient is being quarantined ‘out of an abundance of precaution … not because there is severe illness’

TUESDAY, Jan. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The first U.S. case of a new coronavirus illness that originated in central China has been identified in a patient in Washington State, federal health officials announced on Tuesday.

In a news briefing, officials said that the male patient was hospitalized with pneumonia last week and had recently traveled to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in China where the outbreak is thought to have begun. The man is being quarantined at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett “out of an abundance of precaution and for short-term monitoring, not because there is severe illness,” stressed Chris Spitters, M.D., interim health officer for the Snohomish Health District.

The quarantined patient is in his 30s and resides in Snohomish County, north of Seattle, state epidemiologist Scott Lindquist, M.D., explained at the briefing. The patient is currently in good condition and clinically not ill. The man flew home into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Jan. 15 via an indirect flight, officials said. Airport screening for the new virus did not start until Jan. 17. According to officials, the man had been keeping up with the news, and when he developed symptoms on Jan. 19, he reached out to his doctor. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that he had the coronavirus by the next day.

On Friday, U.S. officials announced the start of routine illness checks for people flying into the United States from Central China via Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. And in the Tuesday news briefing, it was announced that two more airports — Atlanta and Chicago — will be added to that list. Furthermore, Homeland Security says it will reroute all indirect flights from Wuhan, to make sure that all travelers come through one of those five airports so they can be screened.

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