BEAUMONT, Texas — A patient at Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas is being tested for the coronavirus.
Baptist Hospital is currently awaiting results on the patient who was tested, according to Baptist Hospital spokesperson Mary Poole.
The male patient who had a layover in Beijing, China, is being tested as a precaution, according to Baptist Hospital emergency medicine physician Dr. Ali Osman.
Beijing is more than 700 miles away from Wuhan where the outbreak is currently centered.
Officials say the man returned from his trip through China and developed flu-like symptoms. He came into the hospital around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Since the flu and coronavirus share similar symptoms, the hospital decided to run the necessary tests, Dr. Osman said.
Dr. Osman stressed that the case is currently “under investigation” and it is NOT confirmed or even suspected at this point.
Test results from the Centers for Disease Control are expected to be back in 24 – 48 hours, according to Dr. Osman.
Baptist has several pressurized isolation rooms to prevent the spread of highly-contagious viruses. Hospital officials say the man is in one of these room and is in good spirits watching TV.
Baptist says they are open and it's business as usual. Dr. Osman says operations are not impacted.
Two other suspected cases of the virus in Texas turned out to be negative.
In total, there have now been more than 24,000 reported cases of the new coronavirus in China. In the U.S., there are just 11 confirmed cases. Right now, 206 tests in the U.S. have come back negative, but there are still 76 tests pending, according to the CDC.
"Unfortunately, there is no quick magic test like there is for the flu or strep," Dr. Ho told 12News. "It's a very specific strain, so we would have to get a sample and would send it off the CDC."
The patient would then answer a series of questions:
- Have they traveled to China in the past three weeks
- Do they have respiratory issues
- Are they or have they been running a fever
Medical staff would give them a mask and take them to one of their negative pressure rooms.
"(We would) escort them to one of our negative pressure rooms to protect the public from the spread of the disease," Sarah Morris, the emergency department process improvement coordinator for Baptist Hospital said. "These rooms have a venting system, called a negative pressure system, to prevent the spread of the infection into the hospital or to the public."
Baptist Hospital has three of these negative pressure rooms in its emergency room, with more throughout the hospital.
"There's also have a communication box and window so we can communicate and monitor the patient without entering the room over and over," Morris said.
Tests would determine how long a patient would have to stay inside the room.
Doctor Ho told 12News when it comes to the coronavirus, knowing what it is can prevent a lot of panic. He says education is key.
If you haven't been to China or been exposed to somebody who recently traveled there, you are at a very low risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Although currently there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Texas, officials said the best thing people can do is make sure they are consistently washing their hands.
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This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.