Feb. 2 (UPI) — Massachusetts health officials say a man who traveled to Boston from Wuhan, China, has been diagnosed with coronavirus, making him the first Massachusetts resident with the virus and the eighth confirmed case in the United States.
According to a news release issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the man, who is in his 20s and lives in Boston, has been isolated since his diagnosis and will remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.
The man’s close contacts are also being monitored for any signs of symptoms, health officials said.
“We are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately,” said Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel. “Massachusetts has been preparing for a possible case of this new coronavirus, and we were fortunate that astute clinicians took appropriate action quickly. Again, the risk to the public from the 2019 novel coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts.”
More than 250 people have died of the novel strain of coronavirus, which has infected 12,000 people worldwide.
The United States has declared coronavirus a public health emergency, and the United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to non-citizens who have recently visited China.
Several U.S. airlines have temporarily suspended flights to China.
China has also restricted international travel as it attempts to contain the virus.
Massachusetts officials said they are not asking residents to do anything differently, as the risk of infection from the virus remains low and the flu has infected and killed far more people this winter.
Public health officials recommend taking the same steps to prevent colds and flu, including frequent and thorough hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick. They also encourage patients with respiratory difficulties who have visited China recently, especially Hubei province, to seek treatment as soon as possible.