Officials: Patient taken to New Jersey hospital does not have Wuhan coronavirus

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A patient taken to a New Jersey hospital Thursday evening does not have the Wuhan coronavirus, according to hospital officials.

A spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Health said that Hackensack University Medical Center officials were taking “all appropriate infection control protocols” as a “precautionary measure” after a woman in her 20s was transferred to the hospital due to possible exposure to the illness.

But Hackensack Meridian officials said late Thursday night in a statement, “After an evaluation of the patient and consulting with the state Department of Health, experts have determined the patient does not have the Wuhan coronavirus. Due to patient privacy, we are unable to provide additional information.”

A particular strain of the coronavirus has sickened over 800 people worldwide and has led to the deaths of at least 25 people who contracted the virus.

RELATED: Officials: People who had contact with Washington man with China virus to be monitored 
RELATED: New Jersey senators call for coronavirus testing at Newark Liberty Int'l Airport 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the strain originated in a market in Wuhan, China. It is a respiratory virus that can carry the symptoms of the common cold or flu. But it can also cause organ failure, pneumonia or death. The virus can be spread by coughing or sneezing.

Five airports around the United States are monitoring passengers who show signs of being sick as they exit airplanes. These airports include airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York is also included, but not Newark Liberty International Airport.

New Jersey officials have called on health leaders to have Newark included in that list, as it is the country’s fifth-largest airport.

Gov. Phil Murphy wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon that he had been briefed by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, state health officials and officials with the New York/New Jersey Port Authority about the coronavirus.

“We’re prepared to take any steps necessary to protect the public health of New Jerseyans,” Murphy wrote.

So far only one American has tested positive for the China strain of coronavirus. A man from Washington state is said to be recovering after contracting the illness during a recent trip to China.

The is no vaccine for coronavirus. World Health Organization officials say that they are concerned that international travel could quickly spread the virus.

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