Coronavirus outbreak: 2 possible cases reported at Miami University in Ohio

Coronavirus outbreak: 2 possible cases reported at Miami University in Ohio
A lab assistant works on samples after an AP interview with Christian Drosten, director of the institute for virology of Berlin's Charite hospital on his researches on the coronavirus in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Michael Sohn/AP, File)

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — Butler County and Miami University officials are investigating two possible cases of coronavirus at Miami.

Miami officials informed the Butler County General Health District about the possible cases on Tuesday.

The people had recently traveled to and returned from China, officials said. They are in isolation and “not severely ill,” officials said in a news release.

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Officials said that, unless someone has recently traveled from China or been near someone ill with the new virus, their risk is low.

In an email to the Miami community, officials said a student went to the Student Health Services with “very mild symptoms” on Monday after recently traveling to China. The student “met the criteria for 2019-Coronavirus testing,” and officials expect results from the CDC “in the coming days.”

The student and his traveling companion are being isolated in their residence that is away from campus awaiting the test results, the email said.

About a dozen Miami University Regional campus students in Hamilton and Middletown list their residence near the area in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, where the outbreak began in December, according to school officials. It’s unclear how many of those students returned home for winter break and how many remained in the U.S.

Officials are asking those who traveled to China and are experiencing symptoms to contact their doctor before traveling to the doctor’s office. The Butler County General Health District has produced a fact sheet about the virus.

“This is what public health does and why we train,” Jennifer Bailer, health commissioner for the Butler County General Health District, said in a news release. “Our staff, officials at Miami University and the Ohio Department of Health are taking every precaution to keep the community safe.

“The same precautions that protect against catching and spreading the flu are likely to be helpful for this respiratory virus: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your nose and eyes, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and don’t go to work if ill. Displaying compassion to all people will be vital as the situation evolves.”