CDC Tests Three Patients in NYC for Coronavirus: Health Officials

The first possible patient came in Saturday; then the city's health department announced that a second and third person exhibited possible symptoms of coronavirus

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What to Know

  • Three people in New York City were reported to have possible symptoms of the coronavirus
  • Health officials said one person was admitted to Bellevue Hospital and the other two went to hospitals in Flushing, Queens
  • The CDC had not released results of their tests as of 11 p.m. Monday

Three people in New York City were tested for coronavirus after recent trips from mainland China, health officials announced late Sunday.

The city's health department announced a first possible patient on Saturday and two others late Sunday evening. As of 11 p.m. Monday, testing for all three cases had not been completed; a process estimated to take 36-48 hours.

The first patient, under 40 years old, was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan on Saturday and the other two, over 60 years old, were admitted to hospitals in Queens; one at Flushing Hospital and the other at New York-Presbyterian, health officials said.

All three patients "presented with fever and cough or shortness of breath without another common cause, like influenza and other cold viruses," the health department said.

New York City Councilman Mark Levine said that the wait time to determine if a patient has coronoavirus is too long, and is due to the fact that all test samples have to be shipped to the Center for Disease Control. In a tweet, Levine attached a letter from the mayor's office to the CDC Sunday, requesting the ability to conduct the testing locally, citing that results would take just hours, not days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on a teleconference call Monday that it had five new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States since its last briefing. Four of the cases were in California; one was in Massachusetts. That brings the total to 11 -- four of the five new confirmed cases involve people who have traveled to Wuhan; the other case involves America's second confirmed case of coronavirus spread from person to person.

There was no immediate update on the conference call about the pending New York City cases, though CDC officials did say they expect the case total to rise.

Meanwhile, new travel restrictions have been announced for flights entering the United States. The Department of Homeland Security said 11 airports, including Newark and JFK, will provide enhanced screenings for passengers who traveled in China within the last two weeks.

According to DHS, the majority of foreign nationals who traveled in China within two weeks of their arrival will be denied entry. Exceptions will likely be made to immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and flight crew, the agency said Sunday.

“We realize this could provide added stress and prolong travel times for some individuals, however public health and security experts agree these measures are necessary to contain the virus and protect the American people," said Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf.

U.S. travelers that fly into New York and prove symptomatic will be immediately transported to Bellevue or Jamaica hospitals, officials said Sunday.

"To minimize disruptions, CBP and air carriers are working to identify qualifying passengers before their scheduled flights. Once back in the U.S., it’s imperative that individuals honor self-quarantine directives to help protect the American public," Wolf added in a DHS release.

As new cases of the coronavirus are reported around the world, a doctor explains where the 2019 Novel Coronavirus comes from and what you can do to protect yourself from the outbreak.

The three possible cases in New York City are not the first for the state. At a press conference on Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 11 other possible cases were reported throughout the state, but all tests came back negative.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an order Monday to create a task force aimed at preparing the state to deal with potential fallout from the virus outbreak. The task force, which will be chaired by Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and will include other members of the governor's Cabinet, will coordinate with the federal government and the Newark airport "to ensure effective communications and dissemination of information."

Murphy said New Jersey has no confirmed cases of the virus.

Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing. The virus has killed 361 people and sickened more than 17,000 in China.

“If you have traveled to the area affected by the outbreak in the last 14 days and feel unwell, call your doctor or visit a clinic, and you will be cared for. Also, practice everyday precautions like you would during flu season—wash your hands frequently, and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze. We remain grateful to all New Yorkers for their cooperation," Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot cautioned.

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