State health officials announced the first case of coronavirus in New Hampshire on Monday morning.
Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire state epidemiologist, said at a press conference that one of the four people being tested for coronavirus came back positive. That person had recently traveled to Italy.
Chan said the person who tested positive is an adult from Grafton County in the northwestern part of the state. They are not sick enough to be hospitalized but are on home isolation.
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The Associated Press reports that the person is a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employee. Hospital officials said they have set up an incident command center.
"We will be working very closely with healthcare providers in the community and the hospital system involved in order to investigate this case of COVID-19 and try and prevent further transmission in our community," Chan said.
He said since the person had recently traveled to Italy, health officials do not believe this represents wider spread community transmission.
"We will be working tirelessly to investigate this most recent identification and to identify any potential susceptible contacts who may need themselves to be placed under self quarantine," Chan said.
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 have been asked multiple times, 'Are we prepared for the introduction of this novel coronavirus in New Hampshire?' and I want to say 'Yes.' This is part of the core public health work that we do," Chan said.
"We have responded to multiple similar infectious disease threats over the years and even in decades," he said, from SARS, to H1N1, to Ebola.
"The most important message we can get out is the state is prepared," added Gov. Chris Sununu. "We know that the risk level does remain low, but we are prepared to deal with any issue that may arise."
Sununu said he spoke to Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Sunday not just about what’s happening in their states but also Canada, which borders northern New England.
"We don't know exactly how it's going to develop in the next few weeks, but it is an all hands on deck effort," he said.
“We will continue to work together to make sure that we do everything possible to address the public concern,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
More than 80,000 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, have occurred worldwide since the virus emerged in China in late 2019. About 3,000 people have died.
The illness is characterized by fever and coughing and, in serious cases, shortness of breath or pneumonia.
The first reported deaths in the U.S. from the virus were confirmed over the weekend in Washington state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.