Massachusetts Reports Its First Confirmed Case of Coronavirus

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed Saturday the first case of the coronavirus in the state, while New York City officials announced that a patient who traveled from China is being tested for it.

In its press release, the DPH announced that a Boston man returning from Wuhan, China was diagnosed late on Friday night. The man sought medical treatment shortly after returning home from Wuhan. He has been isolated since then and will not be released until public health officials clear him. His few close contacts are also being monitored for symptoms of the virus.

Officials said the man is recovering.

"We are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately,'' Massachusetts public health commissioner Monica Bharel, MD. MPH said in the press release. "Massachusetts has been preparing for a possible case of this new coronavirus, and we were fortunate that astute clinicians took appropriate action quickly."

This is the eighth confirmed case of coronavirus in the United States, and public risk in Massachusetts is low.

Officials also advised Boston residents that they should not 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," Boston Public Health Commission interim executive director Rita Nieves said in a press statement.

Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tweeted late Saturday that "the first person in NYC has been identified for testing" for the coronavirus. The person has been described as someone under 40 years of age who had traveled from China, and is currently hospitalized at Bellevue in stable condition.

The first person in NYC has been identified for testing for the novel #coronavirus. This means they had recently traveled from China & presented with fever and cough or shortness of breath without another common cause, like influenza and other cold viruses, identified on testing.

— nychealthy (@nycHealthy) February 1, 2020

"This means they had recently traveled from China & presented with fever and cough or shortness of breath without another common cause, like influenza and other cold viruses, identified on testing," said the tweet.

The department said it will take about 36 to 48 hours to determine if this is a confirmed case. "We are continuing to monitor the evolving worldwide situation daily, including the latest data on transmissions, incubation, new cases, and guidance," said the department.

New York City's health commissioner, Oxiris Barbot, added in a tweet: "Reports of the first person being tested in New York City demonstrate that the system is working as intended."

Reports of the first person being tested in New York City demonstrate that the system is working as intended.

— Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi, MD (@NYCHealthCommr) February 1, 2020

Reports of the first person being tested in New York City demonstrate that the system is working as intended.

Worry surrounding the coronavirus prompted the U.S. to declare a public health emergency block foreign nationals entering from China. As previously reported by Newsweek, President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation temporarily denying entry to foreign nationals--except immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent resident--who have traveled in China in the past two weeks.

All flights from China will be funneled to select airports, including New York's John F. Kennedy airport and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, according to The New York Times. Restrictions begin at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.

U.S. citizens returning from the Hubei province will mandatorily be quarantined for 14 days, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a Friday press conference.

Azar also said that while the risk of infection remains low for Americans, more cases of the virus will probably pop up in the coming days. "It is likely that we will continue to see more cases in the United States in the coming days and weeks, including some limited person-to-person transmissions. The American public can be assured the full weight of the U.S. government is working to safeguard the health and safety of the American people," Azar said.

As reported by the Associated Press Saturday, the death toll from the coronavirus in China is at 259.

Updated 6:27 PM ET with additional information about the announcement of a patient being tested in New York City.

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Passengers wearing facemasks arrive from different provinces at the Beijing Railway Station on February 1, 2020. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty