UMass Boston student first confirmed case of coronavirus in Massachusetts


BOSTON (WPRI) — According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), a man who recently returned from Wuhan, China, is the first confirmed case in the state of a person with the coronavirus.

DPH, and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) were notified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the positive test results late Friday evening.

According to officials, the man, who is only being identified as in his 20’s and a student at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, immediately sought medical treatment after returning home. He has been isolated since then and will remain so until cleared by public health officials.

Those who have been in contact with the man have been identified and are being monitored for any sign of symptoms.

“The contacts were very few, we can really count them on our fingers. They include household members and medical personnel who treated him,” Dr. Larry Madoff said in a conference call Saturday.

State health officials say the risk to the public from the coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts.

“Boston Public Health Commission is continuing to do contact investigations. At this time, we have a very limited number of people exposed but it’s an ongoing investigation,” Dr. Jennifer Lo said.

According to the release from DPH, the coronavirus has resulted in thousands of confirmed human infections in more than 20 countries, with more than 99% of cases in China. To date, eight cases have been confirmed in the US: three people in California, two in Illinois and one individual each in Massachusetts, Washington State, and Arizona.

The CDC told Logan International Airport to begin screening all passengers coming from China after the man had already arrived back in Boston.

“At the time, he was symptomatic with a runny nose so it’s hard to say if he would have screened positive,” Dr. Jennifer Lo said.

UMass Boston says they are working closely with state health officials to ensure all guidelines and protocols are diligently followed and they expect “business as usual” on campus.

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