Hospital: NJ Patient Doesn’t Have Deadly Coronavirus

WCBS 880 Newsroom
January 24, 2020 - 7:26 am

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HACKENSACK, N.J. (WCBS 880) – A patient hospitalized at Hackensack University Medical Center on Thursday night doesn’t have coronavirus, a disease that has shut down parts of China and led to fears of a global epidemic.

Health officials had been fretting over reports that the disease had popped up in Bergen County, but those reports ultimately turned out to be false alarms.

A 25-year-old woman was brought in by Edgewater EMS Thursday night. Other details about the patient haven't been released, but she was said to have been suffering from symptoms similar to the coronavirus, including respiratory issues.

The hospital says it followed strict infection control measures during the evaluation of the woman before the all-clear was given before 11 p.m.

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In a statement, the hospital said: “After an evaluation of the patient and consulting with the State Department of Health, experts have determined the patient does not have the Wuhan Coronavirus. Due to patient privacy, we are unable to provide additional information.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio will meet with emergency management officials Friday to discuss the city’s response to any potential cases of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, China is swiftly building a 1,000-bed hospital dedicated to patients infected with a new virus that has killed 26 people, sickened hundreds and prompted unprecedented lockdowns of cities during the country's most important holiday.

On the eve of the Lunar New Year, transportation was shut down Friday in at least 10 cities with a total of about 33 million people. The cities are Wuhan, where the illness has been concentrated, and nine of its neighbors in central China's Hubei province.

Authorities were taking precautions around the country. In the capital, Beijing, major public events were canceled, including traditional temple fairs that are a staple of Lunar New Year celebrations. Beijing's Forbidden City, Shanghai Disneyland and a slew of other tourist attractions have been closed indefinitely.

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus has risen to 830, the National Health Commission said. Twenty-six people have died, including the first two deaths outside Hubei and the youngest recorded victim.

Many countries are screening travelers from China and isolating anyone with symptoms. John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens is among the airports screening passengers. 

New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez want Newark International Airport to screen passengers too.

Initial symptoms of the virus can mirror those of the cold and flu, including cough, fever, chest tightening and shortness of breath, but can worsen to pneumonia.

The Wuhan outbreak is suspected to have begun from wild animals sold at a food market in the city. The market is closed for investigation.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)