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First suspected NYC case of coronavirus being investigated in Manhattan

A patient at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue may be the first person in New York City infected with coronavirus, city Health Department officials announced Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (Photo courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals)

A man currently hospitalized in Manhattan is now undergoing testing for coronavirus — the first suspected case of the disease reported in the city.

The city’s Department of Health says the patient, who’s under 40 years of age and hospitalized at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, recently traveled from China and exhibited symptoms of coronavirus infection — including fever and cough or shortness of breath without another common cause. 

It’s expected that the city will know within 36 to 48 hours, depending on the Centers for Disease Control testing capacity, whether the man actually has the virus that has caused international alarm in recent weeks.

“An individual with a travel history to China felt unwell and sought help from a medical provider who promptly contacted the Health Department. This is exactly what we prepared for and we thank everyone for taking all the right steps,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Reports of the first person being tested in New York City demonstrate that the system is working as intended.”

Just yesterday, rumors spread that an individual hospitalized in Queens had contracted the coronavirus, but the Health Department quickly denied that was the case.

As of Saturday, eight people in the United States and more than 12,000 people across the globe have been infected; at least 259 people have died, though no fatalities have occurred in the U.S. 

The city’s Health Department says it is continuing to monitor the situation, and strict protocols were implemented to identify potential coronavirus patients and keep the bug from spreading locally.

Symptoms of coronavirus infection include fever, cough or shortness of breath; the symptoms usually develop within 14 days. Those at the greatest risk of infection, at this point, are individuals who recently traveled to the Hubei province of China (where the outbreak began) or who came in contact with a person who had a confirmed case of coronavirus.

While some infection cases worldwide have caused severe illness and death, other cases resulted in milder symptoms. 

Anyone who believes they might be infected with coronavirus should seek immediate medical care, but notify their doctor’s office or an emergency room ahead of time about recent travel and symptoms. They should also avoid contact with others, avoid traveling while sick, cover a nose or mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and wash their hands regularly with soap and water.

Visit nyc.gov/health for additional information on the virus. 

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