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Connecticut hospital employee tests positive for coronavirus

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Gov. Ned Lamont has confirmed a local hospital employee has tested positive for coronavirus. 

On Friday evening, the governor said an employee from Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, who is a resident of New York State, tested positive for coronavirus, COVID-19.

The female employee lives in Westchester County, NY and has self-quarantined. Officials believe the patient was infected in New York. 

Officials are trying to locate anyone the patient came in contact with, but said she worked in a isolated area of Danbury Hospital. 

She became aware that she came in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus and was placed on leave. 

Other employees who came in contact with the woman has been placed on furlough from the hospital. 

Any other person who the employee came in contact with who shows symptoms will be tested for the coronavirus. 

Public Health commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell said 42 other specimens in Connecticut have been tested and all came back negative. There are 11 other specimens awaiting testing. 

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the city is in communication with the schools and Department of Emergency Management.

RELATED: Officials say 200 in CT self quarantined amid coronavirus concerns

“This afternoon we learned that patients and staff at both Danbury and Norwalk Hospitals may have been exposed to COVID-19 coronavirus disease as a result of a hospital employee who lives in Westchester County, New York and has tested positive for the virus. This individual was exposed to the virus while in their home community of Westchester County by another individual who has tested positive, and then the individual worked shifts at both hospitals. The hospital employee is currently at their home, where they are in isolation and recovering. We have been expecting exposure of this virus in Connecticut for several weeks, so its presence should not surprise anybody. This is no cause for panic or anxiety as our public health officials and medical experts have been making every effort to put every precaution possible in place," Lamont said.

Earlier in the day, the governor and local doctors gave an update on how the state is prepared to combat coronavirus, saying they are stepping up their efforts.

The update on Friday came following the news from Lamont's office on Thursday about 200 people in Connecticut who were self-quarantined since February. Those people were monitored for COVID-19.

Local leaders have been vocal about the state’s preparedness efforts to combat the virus.

"We have done dozens of tests to date, and more are coming in. So far, no sign of infections yet in this state, but let's face it we are surrounded by states that do have isolated examples of this and we ought to be prepared for what we got going forward," Lamont said on Friday morning.

Also on Friday, Hartford Healthcare said it expanded its command center to field all sorts of concerns and questions about coronavirus.

They now have people taking calls 24/7, and those taking calls are doctors, nurses, and other health personnel.

Some of those who are calling have recently traveled, others are concerned about being exposed by those who have returned from another country.

"We have activated our tactical operational response team for COVID-19 and we have today, deployed over the last several weeks a number of people full time who are working and preparing for his response. We are also redeploying many resources across our system so we can be here for our community and do the best we can to respond to these evolving set of circumstances," said Jeff Flaks, president and CEO of Hartford Healthcare.

Hartford Healthcare has also instituted its own policies since the coronavirus outbreak. All work travel either out of the country or within the U.S. has been suspended. Personal travel is subject to review.

Folks can call the command center at 860-972-8100, or click here for more information.

Earlier this week, Lamont joined the U.S. surgeon general to tour the state’s lab in Rocky Hill, which was cleared to test for the virus.

RELATED: State lab approved to test for coronavirus

While the coronavirus has created fear, Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams emphasized on the fact that folks should not panic, but take precautions.

"Caution is appropriate. Preparedness is appropriate. Panic is not,” Adams said.

Lamont has also urged all Connecticut residents who have recently traveled outside of the country, or are planning to do so, to follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED: Gov. advises travelers to follow CDC guidance surrounding coronavirus outbreak

The CDC is recommending travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries that are at risk at this point.

Local schools, colleges and universities have also taken precautions by canceling trips abroad, bringing students back to the U.S. who have traveled abroad, and even quarantined those students.

RELATED: UConn students returning from Italy, South Korea will be quarantined

Doctors are advising anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms to contact their medical provider immediately.

The symptoms the flu and coronavirus share are fever, cough, and muscle aches.

For a coronavirus test to be done, a patient must exhibit flu like symptoms, have come in close contact with a coronavirus patient, or have a travel history to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea.

While flu testing results are usually available in a hospital or clinic and can take less than hour or two, results for the coronavirus take a little longer, as they are sent to the lab.

Doctors also say if someone is sick, stay 6 feet away from them.

Cough into a tissue and throw it in the trash right away.

Also, make sure to always wash your hands.

RELATED: Stores selling out of hand sanitizer, soap, face masks

Symptoms of coronavirus can include:

  • Fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

People who have recently traveled to an impacted location and is feeling sick should:

  • Call ahead before visiting a doctor’s office or emergency room
  • Tell the doctor about recent travel and the symptoms being experienced
  • Avoid contact with others, and so not travel while sick

Everyone – regardless of whether they have recently traveled – should continue following some basic steps to protect themselves from coronavirus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Avoid shaking hands as a greeting
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For more information on the CDC's latest guidelines, click here.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(4) comments

Pintosj

Which each new person infected, should I wash my hands more? We do not need a update of each new person. Quit causing a panic!

Bristol62

Who cares what Blumenthal has to say. He must have really trained well on virus transmissions . Maybe he can talk about his Vietnam heroics.

Yankalaba

Indeed! Given that both Senators prefer to politicize the coronavirus crisis, their comments hardly contribute to adequately informing and relaxing the electorate.

Brian C. Duffy

"Who cares what Blumenthal has to say?"

You, apparently.

Brian Duffy ~~ Tariffville, CT

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