Coronavirus latest: Ecuador gets 1st case, New York gets approval to use own test
XiFotos/iStock(NEW YORK) — The number of coronavirus cases in the United States is now at 62 confirmed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also confirmed Friday night that four more patients tested positive for the virus in their states. They are considered presumptive positive cases pending CDC confirmatory testing.
There have been 85,406 cases in at least 60 countries and 2,924 deaths.
Here is how the situation is unfolding on Saturday (all times eastern).
12:02 p.m. New York to start using its own test for coronavirus
New York State wil begin using its own tests for coronavorus, after getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a statement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“When I spoke to Vice President Pence, I urged him to approve New York State’s Coronavirus test — we just received word that our test has been approved by the FDA. New York State will begin testing immediately at Wadsworth Lab,” the governor said via the statement.
“This approval will expedite wait time and improve New York’s ability to more effectively manage the Coronavirus situation as it unfolds.”
“We believe this policy strikes the right balance during this public health emergency,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. in a statement. “We will continue to help to ensure sound science prior to clinical testing and follow-up with the critical independent review from the FDA, while quickly expanding testing capabilities in the U.S. We are not changing our standards for issuing Emergency Use Authorizations. This action today reflects our public health commitment to addressing critical public health needs and rapidly responding and adapting to this dynamic and evolving situation.”
11:39 a.m. UConn orders students studying abroad to return to the US
The University of Connecticut has cancelled all official travel to Italy and notified its Study Abroad program participants there to return as soon as possible to the United States. UConn had already decided to cancel all official travel to China and South Korea, based on recommendations from the CDC.
The university currently has more than 300 students participating in overseas academic programs in 29 nations, including a handful in South Korea and 88 in Italy, all of whom are returning to UConn.
Students returning from overseas will be provided online and remote learning to complete their academic requirements, according to a statement from UConn.
“The health and safety of our UConn students and employees is our highest priority. Please rest assured that working in collaboration with our state and local health departments, we feel prepared to respond to any cases of COVID-19 that might present themselves on our campuses or at UConn Health,” the statement read.
11:20 a.m. Ecuador gets 1st coronavirus case
Ecuador has confirmed its first case of coronavirus according to a statement from Catalina Andramuño Zeballos, Ecuador’s minister of public health.
“The patient arrived in Ecuador from Spain, at the time of her arrival, she did not present any symptoms. The patient presented fever and general malaise, so she was taken to a hospital. The tests were done and she tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement read.
The female patient is currently housed in an Intensive Care Unit and is in critical condition. Her prognosis is “reserved,” according to Zeballos’ statement.
6:31 a.m Washington state high school student tests postive
A high school student in the state of Washington is the latest U.S. resident to preliminarily test positive for the coronavirus and is part of a growing group of victims that were diagnosed with COVID-19 due to community spread.
Health officials in Snohomish County, Washington, said the student became ill Monday with a fever, body aches and a headache. He was seen at two different clinics in the county, however, as the student felt better, he attempted to return to Jackson High School on Friday.
Coronavirus test results for the student, officials said, then came back “presumptive positive,” and the student returned home before attending class.
“The individual is currently in home isolation and is doing well,” Dr. Chris Spitters, interim health officer for the Snohomish Health District, said at a press conference Friday.
Spitters said the student did not travel to areas associated with coronavirus outbreaks, nor did they have known contact with someone diagnosed with the virus. This means the student is the fourth known U.S. case of community spread, which means a person who is diagnosed with a virus without having known contact with an area or person associated with the virus.
The school district, health officials said, has notified students and staff that may have had close contact with the infected student. Most of them will be quarantined at home for 14 days and the school will be sanitized over the weekend and be closed on Monday.
The student was the second person in the state diagnosed with COVID-19 Friday. A woman in her 50s returned from traveling in Daegu, South Korea, on Sunday, Feb. 23. She returned to work on Tuesday, where she had symptoms by the end of the day, according to Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health Seattle & King County.
A majority of the more than 2,300 positive coronavirus cases in South Korea have been linked to a secretive religious sect in the city of Daegu.
Duchin said the woman’s COVID-19 test results came back positive on Thursday.
“Given the extent of global spread, we expect to identify more individuals with COVID-19 in Washington,” Washington state Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy said in a statement Friday.
The coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency, has led to 2,924 deaths, among more than 85,000 cases globally.
Oregon school employee on Friday was diagnosed with a case of coronavirus with an unknown origin. That person joined two others in California who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 through community spread this week.
In the U.S., there are 66 patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, most of which are from those repatriated from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship that docked off the coast of Japan. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 62 confirmed cases; four “unconfirmed” patients tested positive in their states and those results need to be confirmed by the CDC before being included in its numbers.
In California, the city of Costa Mesa won a battle against the federal government Friday night when it withdrew its request to transfer infected coronavirus patients from the Diamond Princess to a quarantine facility in the town.
“This is a victory for the citizens of Costa Mesa and Orange County,” Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said in a statement Friday night. “But the government has not promised not to place future infected persons there, so the battle is not over.”
Without much warning, and no input, last week, the city said it learned people with COVID-19 would be transferred to a soon to be designated quarantine facility. It quickly filed suit to halt the transfers.
“We continue to be troubled by the lack of information from the agencies we all need to trust to keep us safe,” Foley said. “While the risk of infection is low, this is an international public health emergency and we need answers.”
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