Three people in North Dakota who recently returned from China are being "actively monitored" for any symptoms of the coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, China, according to the state Department of Health.
They are being checked on every day for signs of illness and are voluntarily staying away from people other than immediate family members, the department said. Officials did not release details about the people or where they live but said they are cooperating with the state.
“As part of a coordinated approach between federal, state and local partners, we conduct risk assessments on all people who have returned from China and actively monitor them for symptoms of illness,” said Kirby Kruger, director of the state Division of Disease Control.
There have been no diagnosed cases of the coronavirus reported in North Dakota and no one classified as a person "under investigation."
A case goes from being classified as "actively monitored" to "under investigation" if the person begins to show symptoms of illness, which include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. None of the three people being monitored has shown symptoms, Kruger said.
The World Health Organization on Tuesday announced a new name for the disease caused by the virus -- COVID-19. The daily death toll in China topped 100 for the first time, pushing total fatalities above 1,000.
There have been 13 people reported to be infected in the U.S., but no one has died and there has been no ongoing community transmission. The only person-to-person transmission in the United States has been among close household contacts, according to the Health Department.
Wisconsin and Illinois are the states nearest to North Dakota that have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A person in western Montana's Gallatin County is being evaluated at a Bozeman hospital after becoming ill following a trip to China and will be tested for the virus, according to that state's Department of Public Health and Human Services. The person has not been diagnosed with the virus. Results from CDC testing are expected sometime this week.
North Dakotans can reduce their risk of infection by not going to China, the state's Health Department said.
The CDC has issued a Level 3 travel warning, meaning people should avoid nonessential travel, for all of China. The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory warning people not to travel to China.
Reach Bilal Suleiman at 701-250-8261 or Bilal.Suleiman@bismarcktribune.com
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