Coronavirus: First infected US evacuee from Wuhan mistakenly released from San Diego hospital

The person was released after initial test result showed that he was not infected with the deadly virus


                            Coronavirus: First infected US evacuee from Wuhan mistakenly released from San Diego hospital
(AP Photo)

The first American evacuee from China, who was confirmed to have the coronavirus, was reportedly released from a San Diego hospital after a botched test result showed he was not infected. The patient, who has not been identified, was evacuated from Wuhan — the epicenter of the deadly virus outbreak — last week and was taken to UC San Diego Health.

He was placed in isolation at the medical facility along with three other evacuees who showed possible symptoms of the virus, which has claimed over 1,000 lives in China in just over a month, CNN reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted an initial test on the evacuees, which showed that they had not been infected.

UC San Diego Health, in a statement on Monday, said that all of them were released on Sunday and returned to the 14-day federal quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. However, further testing conducted by CDC officials revealed that one of the patients had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“This morning, CDC officials advised San Diego (County) Public Health that further testing revealed that one of the four patients tested positive for (novel coronavirus),” the statement said. “The confirmed positive patient was returned to UC San Diego Health for observation and isolation until cleared by the CDC for release."

A medical worker in a protective suit walks by patients who diagnosed with the coronaviruses settle at a temporary hospital which transformed from an exhibition center in Wuhan (Chinatopix via AP)

Reports state that another person was also hospitalized at Miramar on Monday, and was being tested for the deadly virus. There are now a total of eight patients in quarantine at the facility. 

Amid concerns of more possible infection because of the mistake, the UCSD emailed a statement to the San Diego Union-Tribune, saying that the infected evacuee was not let go on his own out of the facility without precautions.

"The patient left UC San Diego Health the same way they arrived, with all precautions taken," the statement said. "The patient was wearing a mask per CDC instruction. The federal marshals transported the patient while wearing protection."

It is not yet clear for how long was the infected patient at the base before officials realized that his results were actually positive.

The new case has taken the total number of confirmed coronavirus patients in the US to 13. More than 43,000 people have been infected with the new coronavirus in China alone as of Tuesday, and the virus is gradually spreading to multiple countries across the world, with 27 nations already confirming infections.

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