What to Know
- Test results for the first patient admitted and tested for possible coronavirus in NYC have come back negative
- The patient had been admitted to Bellevue Hospital, while two others went to hospitals in Flushing, Queens, and two more were identified Wednesday
- NYC Mayor de Blasio informed residents that the risk to the general public remained low but advised people to take precautions as they would with the flu
Test results for the two patients under investigation for coronavirus at a New York City hospital have come back negative, the Health Department said, as a fourth and fifth person came under investigation for possible infection.
“The first person who met the criteria to have samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was found not to have the 2019 novel coronavirus,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot earlier in the week. “The response and care the patient received reflects how well the systems we have in place are working."
The patient, who was under 40 years old, had been tested at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after being admitted on Saturday.
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On Wednesday evening, the city's Department of Health announced that tests for one of the other patients came back negative for coronavirus.
It was not known which of the other two original patients — both of whom are older than 60 and were admitted to hospitals in Queens late Sunday — was cleared. One was admitted to Flushing Hospital and the other to New York-Presbyterian over the weekend.
All three original patients had recently traveled from mainland China and "presented with fever and cough or shortness of breath without another common cause, like influenza and other cold viruses," the health department said.
Meanwhile, the city said two more people -- both under 40, one of them hospitalized -- met those same criteria to be tested for possible infection.
“We are fortunate that the test results from our first person under investigation came back negative, but we expect to see more people presenting to health care facilities with symptoms of the novel coronavirus," Barbot said in the new statement Wednesday.
In Flushing, Queens, where there's a large population of Chinese and Chinese-Americans doctors are constantly worried about the high contagious virus.
Tests for three people were still pending Thursday morning. Officials said it typically takes up to 48 hours for results because samples have to be taken and sent to the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia.
Results for those three may come in quicker than previous tests, as New York Councilman Mark Levine announced testing can now be done locally.
"Not soon enough for these five possible cases. But if there are more going forward, the turnaround time will be much faster," Levine said.
However, Mayor de Blasio later tweeted that the CDC "has given localities the tools, but we still need our labs to be granted the authority" to test for the illness. The mayor also added that the city is "pushing to speed up this process."
The viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 24,000 people globally. Chinese officials say the virus, as of Wednesday, has killed nearly 500 people. To date, there are just 12 confirmed cases in the United States, mostly in California.
Mayor de Blasio echoed CDC statements that the risk to the general public remains low but advised people to take precautions as they would with the flu "like regular handwashing."
Meanwhile, two more planes carrying about 350 Americans arrived Wednesday at other California military bases and two more are expected Thursday at bases in Nebraska and Texas. All passengers will be quarantined for 14 days.
Confirmed Coronavirus Cases
Source: NBC News, staff reports
U.S. travelers who fly into New York and prove symptomatic will be immediately transported to Bellevue or Jamaica hospitals, officials said. Even passengers who have not shown symptoms are subject to restriction.
In New Jersey, a person who had been in Hubei Province was issued a mandatory quarantine order Tuesday night after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport from China. That person has been asymptomatic but will be monitored by the New Jersey Department of Health for 14 days.
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.
The three possible cases in New York City were 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.
“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.
Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing.