First case of Wuhan coronavirus confirmed in Massachusetts, health officials say

Understand: What is the coronavirus?
Understand: What is the coronavirus?

Officials with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed the first case of the Wuhan coronavirus in the state Saturday.

According to WCVB, Health officials said a Boston man in his 20s is confirmed to have the virus after he recently traveled to Wuhan, China.

The DPH and the Boston Public Health Commission were notified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the positive test results late Friday evening.

The man sought medical care soon after his return to Massachusetts, according to officials. He has been isolated since that time and will continue to remain isolated until he is cleared by public health officials.

“We are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately,’’ said Dr. Monica Bharel, Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner. "Massachusetts has been preparing for a possible case of this new coronavirus, and we were fortunate that astute clinicians took appropriate action quickly. Again, the risk to the public from the 2019 novel coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts.”

Officials said his few close contacts have been identified and are being monitored for any sign of symptoms.

“Our priority is not only to protect and inform the residents of Boston, but also to help this man continue to recover. We are pleased that he is doing well,” said BPHC Executive Director Rita Nieves. “Right now, we are not asking Boston residents to do anything differently. The risk to the general public remains low. And we continue to be confident we are in a good position to respond to this developing situation.”

This is the eighth case of the Wuhan coronavirus in the United States: three people in California, two in Illinois -- a husband and wife -- and one person each in Massachusetts, Washington State and Arizona.

On Friday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared the 2019 novel coronavirus a public health emergency and ordered any American citizens returning from the center of the outbreak in China to be quarantined for two weeks as a precaution. This followed a declaration Thursday by the World Health Organization that the coronavirus outbreak is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The virus has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases of human infection in more than 20 countries, with more than 99% of the cases in China.

The DPH said the risk to the public from the virus remains low in Massachusetts.

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