The eighth case of the deadly corona virus has been diagnosed in the United States amid an outbreak that has prompted public health emergency declarations around the world.
A university student who recently traveled back to Boston from Wuhan, China, has been diagnosed as the first Massachusetts resident with the new coronavirus, state health officials said over the weekend.
It marks the eighth confirmed case of the illness in the U.S. and the first on the East Coast.
The man is in his 20s and lives in Boston, according to a news release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He sought medical attention soon after his return to Massachusetts and has been isolated since then.
He is currently quarantined at his home and will continue to be isolated until he is cleared by public health officials, according to Saturday’s news release. His “few close contacts” have been identified and are being monitored for any signs of symptoms.
The risk to the public in Massachusetts still remains low, state and local public health officials said in a conference call Saturday.
“We are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately,” said Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel in the written statement Saturday. “Massachusetts has been preparing for a possible case of this new coronavirus, and we were fortunate that astute clinicians took appropriate action quickly.”
Meanwhile, 2 more suspected, but as yet unconfirmed cases, have appeared in New York City, bringing the total of possible infections there to three. The New York Times is reporting that a day after New York City’s health authorities said that a woman was hospitalized with the city’s first suspected case of the virus, authorities on Sunday announced that two more patients also might have the disease.
Samples from all three patients must first be tested at a laboratory in Atlanta that is run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether any of the patients do in fact have the coronavirus. However, based on a number of factors — the type of symptoms; the patients’ recent travel in China; and the exclusion of influenza and some other common illnesses through testing — the New York City health authorities are taking quite seriously the possibility that these patients may all have the virus.
While the virus can be deadly, American public health officials say risk of exposure is low, and there is no reason for panic. They also remind the public that the flu remains more dangerous for people in the United States, and no one has died from the virus in the U.S.