Health officials say one person in New York City met the criteria to have samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.READ MORE: Trump Says His 'Journey' Is 'Far From Being Over' In First Major Public Speech Since Leaving Office
Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot says that individual, who recently returned from a trip to China, felt unwell and sought help from a medical provider. The medical provider then contacted the health department.
The individual is currently at Bellevue Hospital and is reported to be in stable condition.
Health officials say the patient arrived at Bellevue late Friday night, and the patient was in the United States for approximately two days before developing symptoms.
“When the patient presented here to Bellevue, they were appropriately evaluated. The appropriate first-line tests were done to rule out a potentially common virus that could have been accounting for those symptoms, and they immediately called us when they had the information that indeed there was positive travel [to China] and a negative BioFire,” Barbot said.
Health officials are not releasing many details about the individual’s identity, but they say the patient is under the age of 40 and does not have family members in New York City.
“This individual didn’t have a family here in New York City, didn’t stay with friends, so we didn’t have those kind of contacts of living in the same space with someone, which is the primary concern right now. There was no one, apparently, at least based on what we know now, who would have been in that kind of close proximity,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at Bellevue Hospital on Saturday evening.
According to health officials, testing to determine if the individual does in fact have coronavirus will take a minimum of 36-48 hours and depends on CDC testing capacity.
“This is exactly what we prepared for and we thank everyone for taking all the right steps,” Barbot said in a statement. “Reports of the first person being tested in New York City demonstrate that the system is working as intended.”
“If this is a positive case, we’ll confirm that publicly right away, and the individual, of course, will be treated until they are at a point where they are no longer symptomatic and contagious,” de Blasio said.READ MORE: Gov. Cuomo Agrees To Attorney General James' Demand For Legal Referral To Investigate Sexual Harassment Allegations
De Blasio went on to say if it turns out to be a positive case, the health department will trace back “all substantial contacts the individual has had to ensure that anyone else who may have been affected gets the potential medical treatment they need. That work would start immediately in the instance of a positive measure.”
Meanwhile, an eighth case of the virus has been confirmed in the United States. The man lives in Boston and recently returned from Wuhan, China.
There are more than 14,000 confirmed cases worldwide with more than 300 deaths reported.
The U.S. government is taking unprecedented steps to contain the coronavirus. U.S. citizens returning from the epicenter of the outbreak in China are now being subject to a mandatory quarantine of 14 days. Those just returning from other parts of China are told to take precautions as well.
“They encourage us to work at home for 14 days before showing up at work,” one traveler said.
Several major airlines — including United, Delta and American — have announced they are cutting back flights to and from the epicenter. Travel agent Star Wang says she’s inundated by calls from families either canceling their trips or because they are trapped overseas.
“I just got a phone call from China. There’s people, they scheduled their flight yesterday for Feb. 3, but just a few minutes ago, the flight was canceled,” Wang said.
Relieved passengers arriving at Newark Airport on Saturday were grateful to have caught one of the few flights coming home. Matthew Damron told TV 10/55’s Christina Fan his parents were among those worried sick.
“I’m sure that it was absolute hell for them. They called me several times after all the updates came out, you know, in tears, just praying that I was going to be able to come back,” he said.
Starting Sunday, all incoming flights from China will be funneled through seven airports, including JFK.MORE NEWS: FDNY: 3 Injured In Manhole Fire In Midtown; Con Ed Crews Remain On Scene
Stay with CBSNewYork.com and CBSN New York for the latest on this developing story.