coronavirus concerns

Fourth Person in New Hampshire Being Tested for Coronavirus

Officials say the person recently returned from travel to Italy and began experiencing symptoms within 14 days of travel

Foto del coronavirus bajo el microscopio

A fourth person in New Hampshire is being tested for the COVID-19 virus, the state's Department of Health and Human Services announced Sunday.

Officials say the person recently returned from travel to Italy and notified their healthcare provider after developing fever and respiratory symptoms within 14 days of travel.

Coronavirus infections in Italy rose 50% Sunday and the U.S. government advised Americans against travel to two regions in northern Italy.

The New Hampshire resident in question is currently isolated and is being monitored by public health clinicians. Officials say the person does not currently pose a threat to the public's health.

Preliminary COVID-19 test results for the person are expected possibly as early as Monday.

Dr. Chan said there is not currently a recommendation that individuals who have traveled to countries other than China should self-quarantine, but acknowledged that these recommendations could change given the rapidly changing epidemic.

“We have heard concerns from communities about returning travelers from countries outside of China that are currently experiencing widespread transmission of COVID-19, such as Italy” State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said in a statement. “Any returning travelers from countries that currently have a CDC travel advisory due to sustained or widespread COVID-19 transmission should monitor their health closely for development of fever or respiratory symptoms. If such symptoms develop within 14 days of travel to an affected country, the individual should seek health advice by phone from their healthcare provider and limit their contact with others."

State health officials also said they are aware that some schools have students who traveled to Italy over February break and have instructed those students to stay home for 14 days from travel to affected regions.

"We will support schools in taking steps to protect their communities during this very dynamic and challenging situation, and we have released interim guidance to help school communities to address questions and concerns," Dr. Chan said.

The state's health department says it has worked to develop coronavirus testing capabilities in the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories and anticipate they'll have that testing capacity by Monday, March 2.

Previously all testing for COVID-19 was conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No cases of the novel virus have yet been identified in New Hampshire.

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