37ºF

Oakland County resident being tested for coronavirus after traveling to China, officials say

Fifth possible case of coronavirus identified in Michigan; four other cases negative

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Michigan health officials said an Oakland County resident is being tested for coronavirus after traveling to China within the last two weeks.

The resident is being hospitalized at an undisclosed location, officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.

“We have a new person under investigation for the 2019 novel coronavirus," said Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the state health department. "They are from Oakland County. A specimen is being sent to CDC in Atlanta. We won’t have results until next week. They have a travel history to China.”

State officials expect to receive test kits for the virus from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention as early as Friday. Once the kits are received, it will take about a week to get up and running. Then, the state lab will be able to conduct its own tests for the virus.

More Americans have been evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak and returned to the U.S. They’re being quarantined for two weeks at military bases.

“They are considered increased risk for exposure,” said Dr. Eric Kasowski, with the CDC. “That doesn’t mean they’ll get sick.”

In Japan, a floating quarantine is in effect aboard the Diamond Pricess, where more than 60 people on board have tested positive, including 11 Americans.

Globally, the coronavirus has sickened more than 31,000 people and killed more than 600. The death rate in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, is more than 4%.

“People are just really scared to even become sick, and they’re definitely not going to the hospital because it could be worse than staying home,” said Ben Wilson, an American living in Wuhan.

In the U.S., health officials say at least 12 people have tested positive, and results are pending on dozens more, including four passengers on a cruise ship docked in New Jersey on Friday morning.

“Although the virus represents a potentially very serious public health threat -- and we expect to continue seeing more cases here -- the immediate risk to the American public is low at this time,” said Alex Azar, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

In Chicago, two patients are being discharged from the hospital and transitioning to home isolation.

A Washington state man -- the first U.S. patient to be infected with the coronavirus -- was discharged from the hospital earlier this week.


About the Authors: