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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a fifth case of the Novel Coronavirus in the United States, Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced Monday that a patient in the state had been tested for the respiratory illness.

The DHSS did not say where this individual was tested or where they resided but they did confirm the person tested negative for 2019-nCoV.

To date, the CDC has confirmed five cases of coronavirus in the US, in Washington, Illinois, Arizona, and California, with more than 100 ongoing investigations into possible cases happening across the country. All five patients recently traveled to China.

The Novel Coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China and causes symptoms similar to influenza, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Patients infected with coronavirus can develop pneumonia in both lungs and, in severe cases, suffer organ failure, according to the CDC.

More than 80 people have died in China as a result, with another 324 in critical condition.

Public health agencies in Missouri are coordinating to ensure people who think they may be sick get testing. This includes people who’ve visited Wuhan, China within the past couple of weeks and have developed the aforementioned symptoms.

The virus can spread person-to-person, so it’s advised that anyone who meets the criteria to be tested or receives a positive diagnosis self-isolate and contact their physician.

SSM Health System Hospitals in our area are taking proactive steps against the coronavirus. Health experts in St. Louis want to assure the public that the medical community is prepared for the worst.

In response to the recent confirmed cases, Dr. Alexander Garza says SSM Health Services has implemented a proactive plan.

“We have developed a plan for all of our hospitals, as well as our outpatient clinics,” he said.

Authorities have recommended guidelines for protection if you must travel to China.

“The CDC has issued a Level 3 alert for that area unless you have to go to that area of China, you probably should not,” Dr. Garza said.

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