The first Maine resident to be tested for coronavirus infection has tested negative for the disease, which has killed more than 1,300 people and sickened tens of thousands, mostly in China.

The unidentified person was tested Monday, said Robert Long, spokesman for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted the test and informed the Maine CDC of the results. The individual, who was tested voluntarily, agreed to remain home in accordance with U.S. CDC guidelines, and has fully cooperated with state health officials, Long said in a statement.

“Maine has no confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus and the risk to the general public remains low,” the Maine CDC said  Thursday.

No other person from Maine has met the requirement to be tested for the virus, which is now being called COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. Criteria include displaying symptoms of a lower respiratory illness, and having either traveled to China recently or come in contact with someone known to have the virus.

Last week, Colby College announced it was placing members of the college community who had recently visited mainland China in isolation – the college would not say how many. Those individuals are being housed in a Waterville hotel until the incubation period has passed. Symptoms appear within two to 14 days of exposure.

“None of the individuals in isolation have any symptoms of the virus, and they are being monitored per (federal) CDC guidelines,” Colby College said in a statement posted on its website Feb. 6. “They were isolated based on public health guidance for those returning from mainland China and out of an abundance of caution for the safety and wellbeing of the Colby and local communities.”

The coronavirus has caused an outbreak of respiratory illness beginning in Wuhan, China, in December. About 60,000 people worldwide had been sickened by the virus as of Thursday afternoon.

As of Thursday, the U.S. CDC has confirmed that 15 individuals have tested positive for the coronavirus in six states. Individuals from 41 states and U.S. territories have been tested. The vast majority of tests in the U.S. have been negative, and no deaths have been reported in this country.

Symptoms are similar to the flu and may include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. The Maine CDC says that if someone displays symptoms similar to coronavirus and did not recently travel to China or have contact with someone diagnosed with the virus, they likely have a cold or the flu.

Federal health officials believe the virus is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. It is currently unclear if a person can contract the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the infection.

 

 

 

 

 

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