China's Hubei Province Reports 14,840 New COVID-19 Coronavirus Cases and 242 New Deaths

At the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China's Hubei province, health officials reported 14,840 new cases of the virus and 242 new deaths related to the infection according to CNBC. In Wuhan, where the latest outbreak of the coronavirus is alleged to have begun, over 33,000 patients are still hospitalized with many listed as critically ill.

More than 48,000 people have contracted the virus in the Hubei province while the death toll has risen to over 1,300.

Under a new plan for treatment of the virus, the General Office of the National Health and Health Commission and the Office of State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine have added clinical diagnoses to their patient classifications "so that patients can receive standardized treatment according to confirmed cases as early as possible to further improve the success rate of treatment," said a Wednesday news release.

This addition to the classification means that health officials can use lung imaging methods to confirm their diagnoses rather than relying solely on standard nucleic acid tests performed on blood samples.

coronavirus, COVID-19
Recent data from China released on Wednesday shows 14,840 new cases of COVID-19 in the Hubei province and 242 new deaths related to the virus. Getty

So far, 14 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S. prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to warn that they expect the virus to "take a foothold in the U.S."

"At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries," Director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dr. Nancy Messonnier said to reporters Wednesday. "This will trigger a change in our response strategy."

Newsweek reached out to CDC for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

CDC does not recommend wearing face masks or respirators as protection against the virus while in public. Only those who come in direct contact with COVID-19, such as health care providers or immediate family members of those confirmed infected with the virus should use those devices.

Testing for COVID-19 by the CDC led to the accidental release of an infected patient in San Diego, California on Tuesday. After a woman was allowed to leave quarantine because of her negative test results, CDC headquarters realized the test had been mislabeled. The results ascribed to the released patient had never been tested. After the mistake was uncovered, the patient was returned to the quarantine at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California.

"The issue was the test wasn't run when we thought it had been," said Dr. Christopher Braden of the CDC at a Tuesday news conference. "Let me put that to bed. The test is accurate."

Coronavirus COVID-19 location February 12 Statista
Countries where COVID-19 has been confirmed. Statista

Officials said the risk of the patient infecting others was low risk.

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, presents symptoms consistent with a respiratory infection. Shortness of breath, coughing and fever may manifest in those infected within 2-14 days of initial exposure.