Minnesota Department of Health: 2 possible cases of coronavirus sent to CDC for testing

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Friday, Minnesota health officials explained how they're preparing if the deadly coronavirus outbreak hits the state.

Officials said even though the immediate health risk is low, they're aware that finding cases and responding to them quickly is of the utmost importance.

In a statement, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health said they "asked health care providers to alert us if a person with recent travel to Wuhan, China, becomes sick with respiratory symptoms. When cases are reported, laboratory samples are collected and submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing. This testing can take several days."

According to MDH officials, two samples have been sent to the CDC from Minnesotans who had visited the Wuhan province. The two people have been asked to remain at home until results have returned from the CDC. 

"If at any point the testing confirmed a case of novel coronavirus in a Minnesota resident, the available details and protective recommendations would be shared with both the affected parties and the public as quickly as possible," the MDH said in a statement. 

So far, the virus has killed 26 people, sickened hundreds and prompted unprecedented lockdowns of cities in China.

Health officials said the immediate risk to the American public is currently low. However, they said the situation is quickly evolving and more cases in the United States are possible.

Currently, several states, including Minnesota, are tracking developments through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement their own plans for a potential outbreak.

"We are all alerting our health care providers, emergency rooms and doctors and so forth that we want to get the word out to evaluate patients," Dr. Richard Danila, with the Minnesota Department of Health, said. "It's important for doctors to ask patients showing up with respiratory systems about their travel history."

Meanwhile, there is a new travel warning amid reports of additional cases in the United States. A student at Texas A&M is self quarantined after returning from China. Overnight, a student at Tennessee Tech University has reported mild symptoms and is also being tested for the virus.

President Donald Trump tweeted his appreciation of China's efforts to contain the virus Friday.

Friday, a second confirmed case was reported in Chicago.

2nd coronavirus case confirmed in US as State Department warns against traveling to China

The first confirmed case, a man in his 30s, is being treated near Seattle in isolation.

More information about the coronavirus can be found here.

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