Fears of coronavirus overseas prompt New Jersey hospital to take extra precaution

HACKENSACK, New Jersey -- Fears of the coronavirus overseas prompted a hospital in New Jersey to take extra safety precautions.

Officials at Hackensack Meridian Health said Thursday evening that the hospital was following all appropriate infection control protocols for a specific patient.

A witness told our sister station WABC that she watched as a masked patient was wheeled out of a neighboring doctor's office by masked medics. That patient was taken to nearby Hackensack University Medical Center which confirmed that it was working with the state department of health to diagnose the patient.

The New Jersey Department of Health released the following statement:

"The hospital, the Department of Health and local health officials are working together to gather additional information. No definitive diagnosis has been made regarding the patient. As a precautionary measure, the hospital is following all appropriate infection control protocols."

It was determined later Thursday evening that the patient did not have coronavirus. A spokeswoman for the hospital said due to patient privacy, no other information could be provided.

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus rose to 830 with 25 deaths, the National Health Commission said Friday morning. The first death was also confirmed outside Hubei. The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Outside the mainland, cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macao, the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

The only confirmed case in the United States is a man in his 30s who flew to Seattle from Wuhan. A second suspected patient is under self-isolation in Texas. A third was removed from a flight that arrived in Los Angeles from Mexico.

Many countries are screening travelers from China for symptoms of the virus, which can cause fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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