St. Alexius Medical Center employees tested for coronavirus after Chicago woman diagnosed at hospital

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (WLS) -- Several emergency room employees on duty at the time a Chicago patient was diagnosed with coronavirus are now being tested.

The woman treated at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates had recently traveled to China. Her husband was later diagnosed with the virus also.

Following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, any of those who came in contact with the patient are being self-quarantined. If they show any symptoms of the virus, they are taking cultures to be tested by the CDC.

"The similarity of the symptoms for flu and coronavirus is quite broad including headaches, respiratory problems, including shortness of breath," said Dr. Anita Shroff of Elmhurst Hospital.

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She hasn't had any cases of the new coronavirus, but several patients have come in concerned because they have similar symptoms.

They use a swab to test nasal cultures and send them in a tube for testing.

At this point, doctors say the flu is a much greater threat than the coronavirus.

The 12th U.S. case of coronavirus was confirmed Wednesday in Wisconsin. Health officials said the patient is an adult who traveled to Beijing.

"The flu is much more prevalent, in reality we've been seeing and testing a lot more flu than corona virus patients," Shroff said.

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More than 24,000 people have been infected around the world, and nearly 500 have died, with the overwhelming majority of cases in China.

At this point, no health care workers are among the 12 people in the United States who have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

A spokesperson for AMITA Health said that despite the employees who are isolated, "I can assure you that AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center remains fully and appropriately staffed with the full support of our local AMITA Health system."
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