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Health officials investigating 2 possible cases of coronavirus at Ohio's Miami University

Posted at 11:36 AM, Jan 28, 2020

MIAMI, Ohio -- One student from Miami University in Southwest Ohio as well has his traveling companion have been quarantined while health officials investigate to determine if they have contracted the coronavirus.

According to Miami University, both individuals have been placed in quarantine in their off-campus homes.

Miami University sent the following message to students on Tuesday:

On Monday morning, one student at Miami University presented at Student Health Services with very mild symptoms, and with their recent travel, met the criteria and are being tested for possible infection with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Health providers quickly recognized that the presenting patient met the criteria for 2019-Coronavirus testing; results should be back from the CDC in the coming days. This student and his traveling companion are isolated in their off-campus residence while awaiting the test results. Miami and healthcare professionals continue to communicate and collaborate daily with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health and are following their recommendations and protocols. We will share information with the community as it becomes available.

We are assisting and supporting these Miami students who are awaiting test results. We continue to work closely with local and state healthcare professionals and the Butler County Health District and Ohio Department of Health. If you are experiencing symptoms and have traveled to the impacted area, please first call Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 to receive guidance on next steps. Miami has set up a call center to address any general questions or concerns at 513-529-9000.

If confirmed, Ohio would be the fifth state in the country to have patients with coronavirus.

RELATED: Local, state health officials taking steps to prevent coronavirus, report possible cases

According to the Butler County General Health District, the risk for getting coronavirus is relatively low unless you have recently traveled to China or have been around someone ill with the virus.

"Public health officials have described the immediate health risk to the campus community as low. BCGHD continues to work closely with Miami University Student Health Services and the Ohio Department of Health to monitor the novel (new) coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan, China, over the past few weeks," BCGHD officals stated in a news release.

“This is what public health does and why we train,” expressed Jennifer Bailer. “Our staff, officials at Miami University and the Ohio Department of Health are taking every precaution to keep the community safe. The same precautions that protect against catching and spreading the flu are likely to be helpful for this respiratory virus: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your nose and eyes, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and don’t go to work if ill. Displaying compassion to all people will be vital as the situation evolves.”

In response to the reported cases, Miami University was notified by Central Michigan University that tonight's men's basketball game between Miami and Central Michigan has been canceled. Also, Western Michigan informed Miami that tomorrow night's women's basketball game between the two universities has also been canceled.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects many more Americans to be diagnosed with the newly discovered virus, which is believed to have an incubation period of about two weeks, as worldwide the number of confirmed cases nears 2,000. The CDC is screening passengers on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan at five major airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

CDC officials noted that more than two dozen people who had been suspected of having the illness ended up testing negative.

The first case was reported in December in Wuhan, China. Since then, more than 4,500 cases have popped up around the globe, according to the Associated Press. As of Tuesday, 106 deaths from the virus have been reported in China. No deaths have been reported outside of China.

Here is the total confirmed cases around the world:

  • Thailand - 14 cases
  • Taiwan - 8 cases
  • Hong Kong - 8 cases
  • Singapore - 7 cases
  • Japan - 6 cases
  • United States - 5 cases
  • Macao - 5 cases
  • Australia - 5 cases
  • South Korea - 4 cases
  • Malaysia - 4 cases
  • France - 3 cases
  • Vietnam - 2 cases
  • Canada - 2 cases
  • Nepal - 1 case
  • Cambodia - 1 case
  • Germany - 1 case
  • Sri Lanka - 1 case

Guidance from the CDC advises that people who have had casual contact with the patient are at “minimal risk” for developing an infection.

For more information about coronavirus, click here.

This story was originally published by staff at WEWS with contributions from The Associated Press.