Vegas patient tests negative for new virus; first death reported outside China

ST. GEORGE — Southern Utah residents worried about the Wuhan coronavirus getting closer can rest easy. The Las Vegas patient who was suspected of having the new virus has tested negative, the Southern Nevada Health District announced Sunday.

A woman wearing a protective mask walks outside a church in Mandaluyong, east of Manila, Philippines on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. The Philippines on Sunday reported the first death of a new virus outside of China. | Photo by Aaron Favila, Associated Press, St. George News

SNHD said in a press release that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested the Clark County resident who has been in isolation at an undisclosed Las Vegas hospital. The patient tested negative for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The release added that while waiting for the test results the patient’s symptoms had resolved. The adult patient arrived into the United States from Wuhan, China on Jan. 14 and sought medical care on Jan. 28.

“The Health District worked closely with local and state health care partners and the CDC to investigate this case,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer of the Southern Nevada Health District.

While the CDC considers 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak to be a serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate risk to the public in the United States is believed to be low at this time.

If a person in the U.S. has not traveled to areas in China where the virus is circulating or have had close contact with a patient who has tested positive for the virus, they are at low risk for infection according to health officials.

However, outside the United States, the first death outside China from the new coronavirus was recorded Sunday in the Philippines, as countries around the world evacuated hundreds of their citizens from the infection zone and Chinese authorities completed a new, rapidly constructed 1,000-bed hospital for victims of the outbreak.

Chinese authorities also delayed the reopening of schools in the hardest-hit province and tightened the quarantine in one city by allowing only one family member to venture out to buy supplies.

The Philippine Health Department said a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan, the city at the center of the crisis, was hospitalized Jan. 25 with a fever, cough and sore throat and died after developing severe pneumonia. The man’s 38-year-old female companion, also from Wuhan, tested positive for the virus as well and remained hospitalized in isolation in Manila.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved a ban on the entry of all non-citizens from China. The U.S., Japan, Singapore and Australia have imposed similar restrictions despite criticism from China and an assessment from the World Health Organization that such measures were unnecessarily hurting trade and travel.

Showgirls wear face masks at the Comic Exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 11,900 people globally. | Photo by Chiang Ying-ying, Associated Press, St. George News

The death toll in China climbed by 45 to 304, and the number of cases worldwide surged past 14,550, according to China’s National Health Commission and other nations. The vast majority of those infected are in China; about 150 cases have been reported in two dozen other countries. The U.S. has recorded eight cases.

The Trump administration’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the Chinese so far “have been more transparent certainly than in past crises and we appreciate that and we continue to offer assistance to the Chinese.”

“Right now, there’s no reason for Americans to panic,” he added. “This is something that is a low risk we think in the U.S.’’

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.