Delaware health officials say they are working Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to test an individual in Kent County for coronavirus.
The patient is reported to have recently traveled to China and is displaying flu-like symptoms which can be similar to symptoms of the coronavirus.
Results from testing are expected in the coming days.
Delaware Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong says the individual is currently hospitalized in isolation. He adds there is no immediate risk the virus will spread in the First State.
“If this case becomes a confirmed case, we want to emphasize that the risk of transmission is still very low at this point,” said Hong. “There’s no reason to think this is going to become widespread in the state of Delaware.”
The state has not released additional details about the patient to protect personal health information.
Five people in the United States are confirmed to have contracted the virus, which has spread from China’s Wuhan Province in recent days infecting more than 6,000 people and killing more than 130.
“It’s definitely concerning the number of cases we are seeing right now. We are concerned as well there are cases in the United States, but the numbers don’t trend towards an outbreak at this time,” said Hong. “Public Health is working very closely with CDC and other Public Health entities to reduce the risk of transmission in the public.”
Hong emphasizes the coronavirus symptoms are difficult to differentiate from influenza, and the flu still poses the greatest risk in Delaware with more than 2,000 confirmed cases statewide this season and four related deaths.
“I understand people are concerned with the coronavirus, however they should not forget about the flu,” he said. “So this is still an opportunity to get the flu vaccine, as well as keep your distance from everyone if you are sick.”
Hong adds travel history is an important consideration in determining if testing for coronavirus is warranted.
He says the state will continue to follow isolation procedures with the patient and to keep the public informed of any further risk of transmission of the virus.