BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland patient tested negative for new coronavirus, health officials said Friday, an outbreak in China that has killed dozens and left thousands sick.
Health officials first reported a Marylander may have been exposed to the virus on Monday. The Maryland Department of Health said the patient showed flu-like symptoms and had a travel history within the last week.
“We had an individual who met the testing criteria, that are determined by the CDC, to go ahead and get tested for the coronavirus,” Fran Phillips, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health, said.
“This is a person who had flu-like symptoms, as well as having a travel history in the last week or so,” Phillips said. “So we went ahead and submitted that specimen to the federal government last night.”
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Officials said the test for coronavirus is very easy.
“It’s a simple test, it’s a swab that’s done in a medical clinic, in a facility,” Phillips said. “Then it is transported via plane to the CDC for testing. It will take a day or two until we get the results.”
The outbreak started in Wuhan, China, and has quickly spread to over 18 countries. It has sickened over 2,000 people and has killed 106.
Concerns grow across the US. More than 100 people have been tested in 26 states and at least five cases have been confirmed.
The CDC issued its strongest travel warning, urging Americans to cancel all non-essential trips to China.
While the state waits for test results to return, health officials are urging people to take the same steps you would to prevent a common cold or the flu.
“We are still at a low level of concern about this particular virus, but again, let me stress that this is the time of year where viruses are circulating,” Phillips said. “So the steps we take to protect ourselves now are the same steps we would take for this coronavirus.”