LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a possible case of coronavirus in Colorado. A patient with a history of travel from Wuhan, China is being treated for a respiratory illness at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood.
The coronavirus outbreak has left 41 people dead in China and sickened hundreds more. Authorities believe the virus, which causes flu-like symptoms, moved into the human population from an infected animal at a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
The patient arrived at St. Anthony Hospital Friday afternoon. Results from the CDC to determine whether it is a confirmed case of coronavirus will not be available for several days.
“As with many new cases, upon the patient’s arrival, Centura takes all proper precautions recommended by the CDC,” said Wendy Forbes, Director of Public Relations for Centura Health. “This includes that the patient don a mask and be placed in an isolation unit as a precautionary measure until diagnosis. The health risk to the general public is considered low.”
The CDC reports 11 patients in the U.S. have been tested for coronavirus, including a patient in northern Colorado. The patient had a travel history to Wuhan, but the test results came back negative. Two patients have tested positive for the virus in Chicago and Seattle.
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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said it is prepared to respond if a case is confirmed in Colorado. Health officials are working closely with health care providers and local public health agencies across the state to share guidance on infection control protocols.
“While there is public health concern, the health risk from 2019-nCoV (novel coronavirus) is low,” said Deanna Herbert with CDPHE. “Just as we recommend for other respiratory viruses, the best way to remain healthy is by washing your hands and staying away from others who are ill.”
Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner issued a statement Thursday after learning of the potential coronavirus case in Lakewood.
“I contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of State earlier this week to ensure Congress is prepared to serve as a collaborative partner in a successful response,” said Gardner. “At my urging, the U.S Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a briefing today from top U.S. public health officials, and I stand ready to help local and state officials respond if the need arises.”
The World Health Organization says it is too soon to declare coronavirus a global public health emergency.
The CDC is working with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection to implement enhanced health screenings to detect ill travelers. Those screenings are currently taking place at five major airports: Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles, (LAX) New York city (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO). Denver International Airport is not on the list.
For the latest information about Coronavirus, visit the CDC website.