Delaware health officials investigating possible case of coronavirus

( Photo by Allie Smith/Unsplash )

Delaware health officials are investigating a potential case of the Chinese coronavirus, the state's health department announced Wednesday.

The individual in question is a Kent County resident.

Testing was ordered after officials reviewed the patient's travel history and symptoms with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Test results are pending from the CDC, and are expected in the coming days.

The individual is currently hospitalized in isolation out of an abundance of caution, officials said.

Officials emphasized that there is no widespread risk to hospital staff or other patients.


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The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. On Wednesday, the number cases jumped to 5,974, surpassing the 5,327 people diagnosed with SARS.

The death toll, which stood at 132 Wednesday, is lower than the 348 people who died in China from SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. Scientists say there are still many questions to be answered about the new virus, including just how easily it spreads and how severe it is.

To date, about 99% of the nearly 6,000 cases are in China. Officials estimated the death rate of the new virus at 2%, but said the figure was very preliminary. With fluctuating numbers of cases and deaths, scientists are only able to produce a rough estimate of the fatality rate and it’s likely many milder cases of the virus are being missed.

In comparison, the SARS virus killed about 10% of people who caught it.

The new virus is from the coronavirus family, which includes those that can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS and MERS.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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