Philadelphia Health Department investigating potential case of COVID-19

KYW Staff
March 03, 2020 - 10:08 pm
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UPDATED: March 4, 6:45 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The city's health department is investigating a possible case of the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

To be clear, there are no confirmed cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware, but the Philadelphia Department of Public Health says there is one person who is being monitored and tested. 

Related: Pennsylvania now testing for coronavirus at state lab in Exton

Health officials have not gone into detail about this person, if they had any recent travels or contact with others to be concerned about. 

Dr. Steven Alles, Philadelphia's director of disease control, says they previously tested three people, and the results came back negative. 

"Cases, reports come into us on a regular basis that we review that don't meet case definition, but we want to hear about it each time," Alles said. "So that's a robust relationship we have right now with our clinical provider community."

Now, Alles says, the city and state are better equipped.  

"An expanded access to the test kits and the reagents that are now in the public health laboratories in each state. And in Pennsylvania, there's our lab here that has the ability to do the testing."

Previously, the lab tests would have to come out of the CDC in Atlanta. Now, the state lab in Chester County will be doing the work. 

Even though health officials are taking the outbreak very seriously, they say the risk of getting COVID-19 in the city is very low.

The health department has guidelines on precautions people can take and more information on COVID-19.

Health experts are reminding people to wash their hands thoroughly, try not to touch their face, avoid contact with people who are sick, and cover their cough or sneeze.

If someone is experiencing symptoms or believes he or she may have been exposed to the virus, they are advised to call 1-877-PA-HEALTH. The Pennsylvania Department of Health can answer questions and notify a hospital. If you plan on visiting your doctor regarding coronavirus, notify your physician ahead of time so that precautions can be made.

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