UPDATE: A 25-year-old New Jersey woman tested negative for the coronavirus, the state Department of Health said. It turned out she had a cold.
The woman was transported to HUMC from Riverside Medical Group at Mariners Plaza on River Road in Edgewater around 6 p.m. Thursday with possible exposure to the mysterious pneumonia-like respiratory illness, borough police said.
She was discharged more than five hours later after tests came up negative.
"The NJ Department of Heath consulted with the CDC and it was determined patient did not meet CDC criteria for testing for the novel virus," the state health department said in a statement.
A travel lockdown was imposed in several cities in central China on Thursday in an effort to contain the virus, which has overwhelmed hospitals there amids fears of a pandemic.
The US State Department also urged travelers to "exercise increased caution in China," while a warning from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to "avoid nonessential travel."
Precautions were put in place at several U.S. airports, including JFK in Queens.
Of 830 people in China who reportedly contracted the virus, 26 died – six of them in 24 hours -- according to its National Health Commission.
Cases have also been confirmed in Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand after an initial outbreak in Wuhan, a Chinese city about 650 miles south of Beijing that has a population of more than 11 million.
“Shortage of medical supplies, request help!!!” the Wuhan Children’s Hospital pleaded Thursday in a post on a Chinese social network.
Similar requests were posted by several other hospitals.
Transportation services in Wuhan were halted, and the airport and train station in the city were also temporarily closed.
Other cities under lockdown include Huanggang, Xiantao, Ezhou, Qianjiang, Zhijiang, Chibi and Lichuan, which have a combined population of about 24 million. Authorities also canceled Lunar New Year events in Beijing and other locations.
The Chinese Ministry of Finance on Thursday announced an allocation of one billion yuan ($144 million) for epidemic prevention and control.
At the same time, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said it was too soon to call the outbreak a global public health emergency.
“It may yet become one,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.
The only confirmed case reported so far in the United States involved a 30-something man in Washington State. Authorities also suspected a Texas A&M University student may have contracted the illness within two weeks of visiting China – and traveling through Wuhan.
The coronavirus -- or “2019-nCoV -- apparently began at an animal and seafood market in Wuhan and quickly spread, health officials said.
The systems initially are comparable to a cold: fever, cough and shortness of breath, due to inflammation in the lungs.
Some have compared the outbreak to the spread of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which killed nearly 800 of 8,000 people reportedly affected with it nearly 20 years ago, partly because it is transferable among humans.
Chinese officials confirmed a University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy report earlier this week that the virus had infected health workers in China, raising SARS-like fears among health care professionals worldwide.
No vaccines have been created yet to fight the coronaviruses – which hide from the human immune system -- but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has said that it’s working on one.
Preventing coronavirus involves basic sanitary measures, authorities say.
That includes washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands and avoiding close contact with sick people.
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