LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) said Tuesday that the three Colorado patients investigated for the potential of coronavirus have all tested negative.
All three patients had a travel history that included China, CDPHE said.
Two of those patients, including one that was at Centura - St. Anthony Hospital, tested negative for the virus on Monday. Negative test results for the third patient were announced on Tuesday.
Centura - St. Anthony Hospital said over the weekend that a patient with respiratory illness who also had traveled to Wuhan, China, was tested for novel coronavirus per protocol with the Colorado Department of Health.
The hospital said the public health risk is considered low at this point.
"It's actually a cold virus," said Dr. Michelle Barron, medical director of Infection, Prevention, and Control at UCHealth's University of Colorado Hospital. "It's one of the most common cold viruses that we see every year."
The new coronavirus strain, yet to be named, originated in Wuhan, China where hundreds have been infected.
So far, two people in the U.S. have officially been diagnosed with the virus. There have also been two confirmed cases in France.
The CDC said that they are monitoring 63 people from 22 states for possible cases of the virus, health officials said.
But the CDC stressed that the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered low at this time. Health officials said it's likely more cases will be reported in the U.S. in the coming days and weeks.
Barron's team has been monitoring it since December and has added travel screenings for patients at their hospital.
"We'd rather ask the questions and be safe than find out 'uh oh, somebody was here and now we have this information that makes us worry,'" Barron said.
Barron says, however, a person in the U.S. is far more likely to get the flu even if they've traveled.
The CDC said that there are simple daily precautions that everyone should always take. Health officials recommend everyone get the flu vaccine, take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and take flu antivirals if prescribed.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that have been associated with respiratory illness such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These viruses spread through coughing or sneezing, much like the flu. Some coronaviruses are common and regularly cause illness in the U.S. in the fall and winter. Other coronaviruses like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have caused outbreaks internationally and have been known to cause severe illness. It is too soon to know how severe 2019-nCoV is compared to other coronaviruses or how easily it can spread between humans.
Symptoms of coronavirus infection may include fever, cough and/or shortness of breath and usually appear within two to 14 days. Anyone experiencing these symptoms, who also has a recent history of travel to China, especially Wuhan City, should first call a healthcare provider, urgent care, or hospital for instructions before going to a clinic or emergency room.
People who are worried about this, or any respiratory virus, can protect themselves by practicing everyday actions:
Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
Stay home if you are sick
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