Oklahoma health department in contact with partners as more cases of coronavirus in U.S. ‘likely’

Oklahoma health department in contact with partners as more cases of coronavirus in U.S. ‘likely’
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, that a second case of 2019 novel coronavirus had been confirmed in the U.S. (Callista Images/Getty Images/Image Source, File)

TULSA, Okla. — As China is taking precautions, working to contain the spread of a novel coronavirus, concerns continue to mount about how many cases will pop up in the United States.

A Chicago woman became the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the new pneumonia-like virus from China, the CDC announced Friday. A Washington man, who had recently visited China, was the first.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health tells FOX23, the department is not investigating any (2019-nCoV) coronavirus cases right now.

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“Public health officials at OSDH remain in contact with local, state and federal partners including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they monitor the rapidly evolving situation,” said Tony Sellers, a spokesman for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In the event of a suspected case in Oklahoma, public health officials will work collectively with county health departments, health care providers and hospitals to arrange for testing with the CDC.

“We want to assure the public that this is something we are monitoring and are prepared to respond,” said OSDH State Epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed. “This is a rapidly evolving situation that we continue to follow and provide updates to our healthcare provider partners as circumstances warrant.”

CDC: 2nd U.S. case of coronavirus confirmed in Chicago

Dr. Nancy Messonier with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the risk to the U.S. public remains low but that it's likely more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days, as the virus appears to have a two-week incubation period.

The new disease has infected more than 1,000 people and killed 41 as of Saturday, according to Chinese health officials.

The CDC said it’s too early to compare the Coronavirus outbreak to SARS but urge people who have recently visited China to closely monitor for any symptoms.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), according to the CDC.

The CDC said investigations are ongoing to learn more, but person-to-person spread of corona virus (2019-nCoV) is occurring.

Right now, CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. In addition, CDC recommends people traveling to China practice certain health precautions like avoiding contact with people who are sick and practicing good hand hygiene.