It may be several days before the Dane County resident who tested positive for the new coronavirus from China is released from isolation, health officials said Friday.
The person has been in isolation at home since Jan. 30, when the individual was evaluated and tested at UW Hospital’s emergency room immediately after returning to Dane County Regional Airport following travel to Beijing.
The person is recovering and doing well, but isolation will continue until two consecutive tests for the new coronavirus are negative, said Sarah Mattes, spokeswoman for Public Health Madison and Dane County.
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The person is being tested every other day, and so far no result has been negative. However, local health officials must send samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for testing, so results are delayed, Mattes said.
UW-Madison’s Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene may soon be able to test for the new virus — which causes a respiratory illness now called COVID-19 — Allen Bateman, an assistant director at the lab, said Thursday.
People in close contact with the Dane County resident on or shortly before Jan. 30, including airplane passengers and UW Hospital staff, are being monitored. None have developed serious symptoms, Mattes said.
Of 15 people in Wisconsin tested for the virus, all have been negative except for the Dane County case, state health officials said Wednesday.
Some 47,000 cases of COVID-19, including nearly 1,400 deaths, have been reported globally, mostly in China. Fifteen cases and no deaths have been reported in the U.S., where seasonal flu activity remains high. Since October, flu has sickened at least 26 million Americans, hospitalized at least 250,000 and killed at least 14,000, according to CDC estimates.