cornell university campus

UPDATE: As of Feb. 7, the school announced that the student had tested negative, but that another student was now under examination for the illness. 

Original story: The Tompkins County Health Department sent out a press release on Monday evening announcing that one person is being "isolated and monitored" by the department after showing enough symptoms for an investigation into a potential case of coronavirus. This is not, as of yet, a confirmed case of coronavirus. 

According to the health department, "Risk of exposure to the 2019 novel coronavirus for Tompkins County residents and visitors remains low."

According to a separate announcement from Cornell University, the person in question is a student of the school who presented symptoms on Sunday, Feb. 2. The student does not live on campus, and is receiving care now. 

"The student, who does not reside on campus, is currently in isolation, safe and receiving ongoing care," read a statement from Cornell VP of Student LIfe Ryan Lombardi. "At this time, there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in New York state."

A contact investigation is under way. Coronavirus has become an epidemic in China over the last several weeks, claiming the lives of hundreds and over 20,000 more. There are 11 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, though none of them are in New York State currently. 

The health department sent samples from the individual to the US Centers for Disease Control for further analysis and testing. No more specific information was released at this time, and it appears that testing will take "up to a full week," according to Lombardi's announcement. According to the health department, the state's Department of Health and the CDC are both assisting with prevention and response efforts. 

Cough, fever, trouble breathing and pneumonia are all symptoms of coronavirus. It's spread by coughing or sneezing via the air, close contact or contact with a surface where the virus is present. 

Possibly sensing oncoming backlash against foreign students, particularly those from China, Lombardi included this in his statement. 

"It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis, and we need to remember to care for one another and not make assumptions about others’ perceived symptoms or any characteristics of identity. This is a time for the Cornell community to support one another. Your compassion and empathy for each other makes a difference."

The health department is further asking people who have returned from China in the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing to call their medical providers, avoid contact with others, wash hands, etc. As of Feb. 2 and new federal regulations, the health department will be notified of the return of anyone coming back from China and they will be quarantined and monitored by Tompkins County Health Department nurses for 14 days, even if no symptoms are present. 

The announcement comes just days after Cornell University enacted a ban on all school-related travel to mainland China

The following is a list of resources provided by the department for those looking for more information on the coronavirus:

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