Maryland reports possible coronavirus case; George Mason student’s results still under review

A Maryland resident is undergoing testing for a possible case of coronavirus, the state’s Department of Health announced Monday evening. And, in Virginia, George Mason University has confirmed that one of its students is awaiting testing results after exhibiting symptoms of the virus.

The Maryland resident “is in good condition and is being monitored while awaiting test results, to be reported by the CDC laboratory,” the state’s Health Department said in a release Monday.

The department said the resident “met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for testing” for the virus.

But, so far, Maryland does not have any confirmed cases of the virus, 2019-nCoV. Maryland residents can follow up-to-date information on the state’s Health Department website.

Earlier Monday, two out of three patients in Virginia who were under investigation for possibly being infected with the new coronavirus have tested negative, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed.

The two people from central Virginia do not have the 2019-nCoV infection, officials said.

With the patient under investigation in Northern Virginia, health department officials said the results from tests being performed by the CDC are expected to come later this week.

George Mason University later confirmed Monday that the Northern Virginia patient under investigation is one of its students, but that they do not live on campus and is “self-isolating” as testing results are being processed.

“At this time, the current risk to the public and the Mason community remains low, and the university has been advised that additional precautions are not necessary,” the university said in a statement. “To mitigate the spread of this disease, the university is monitoring university-related and university-sponsored travel to China.”

“At this time, Virginia continues to have no confirmed cases of [coronavirus],” the Virginia Department of Health said in an earlier statement Monday. “VDH will continue to work with the CDC and local partners to detect and respond to any possible cases that might occur in Virginia.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that local health authorities have responded to these travel-related cases quite well.

“The individuals were isolated, and the people they’ve come into contact with were screened. These are classical public health measures,” he said.


Coronavirus: What you need to know


On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its online advisory to tell travelers to avoid non-essential travel to any part of China, The Associated Press reported.

Previously, the agency advised travelers to avoid any non-essential travel to Wuhan or other parts of Hubei province, the center of an international outbreak of a new viral illness. But that didn’t extend to the rest of China.

Fauci said the new advisory is the “appropriate thing to do and very prudent,” given the situation that’s going on in China.

The new virus causes mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness, like the common cold. Its symptoms include fever, cough and trouble breathing, and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.

Authorities announced that 2,744 people had fallen ill and 80 had died from the new virus first found in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, according to The Associated Press.

There are no new treatments, specifically against this novel corona virus, and the treatment is essentially symptomatic and supportive, Fauci said.

“Physicians who are caring for these individuals are giving them supportive therapy with oxygen, pulmonary type of treatments, as well as, perhaps if things get really serious, intubation to assist them with breathing,” Fauci said.

Fauci said there are some experimental drugs that to combat the virus, but they have not been proven to have any efficacy.

Learn more about coronavirus through the Virginia Department of Health’s website. 

WTOP’s Teta Alim, Mike Murillo and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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