Editor’s Note (3/10/20): Since the publication of this article, the patient has tested negative for the new coronavirus. 

A patient at Rochester General Hospital is under testing and isolation for a potential case of COVID-19.

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza told reporters on Wednesday that this was not a confirmed case of the disease COVID-19 or of the new coronavirus that causes it. 

“We should know more about the results of that test within 48 hours,” Mendoza said. 

The Democrat & Chronicle reported Wednesday evening that according to an email from Rochester General’s parent organization, the patient arrived at the emergency department that morning with “symptoms consistent with COVID-19.” 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include difficulty breathing, coughing, and fever. The disease is infectious, and can be deadly, but most cases have been mild.

Rochester General is not affiliated with the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The development occurs as the University prepares to deal with the global outbreak’s effects, some of which are already taking place. 

UR students studying in China, South Korea, and Italy were brought back to the US, an email from UR said on Thursday, and those back from infected regions are being quarantined and monitored for 14 days. The email added that any University students or employees returning to the US from countries with a warning level of 3 from the Center for Disease Control will have to wait 14 days before coming to campus.

Concerns at UR regarding travel have heightened as many prepare to leave campus for spring break, which begins on Saturday. The Thursday email from UR recommended that students traveling for break be mindful of “location-specific travel risks and advisories.” The email also said that anyone who returns after break from an area with known cases and is concerned about potential exposure should contact University Health Services about screening at 585-275-2662. (Those at URMC should contact SMH Employee Health at 585-487-1000.) 

In an email sent last week, UR encouraged students to take the following “basic steps” to prevent infectious diseases:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. And when you are sick, stay home.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

In early February, University President Sarah Mangelsdorf established the Coronavirus University Response Team, last week’s email said, to address aspects of the outbreak’s fallout that may impact the University. 

The team is composed of working groups committed to specific areas like illuse of public health, travel, or incoming students and employees. One group is dedicated to making sure UR maintains essential supplies. Another is in charge of preparations in the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case on campus. The Climate and Care group, according to the email, “is focusing on issues of emotional health, health insurance, immigration, housing, funding, and travel for the next several months, should the COVID-19 outbreak continue to have significant impacts.”

The University is directing students to its Coronavirus Update page for the most current information.

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