Mass. health officials monitoring 231 people with coronavirus-like symptoms

BOSTON (WHDH) - The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that 231 people in the state are being monitored for coronavirus-like symptoms.

The risk of coronavirus in the state remains low and there has been only one confirmed case, officials said. The infected patient is said to be improving and doing well.

Officials also said that 377 other people in the state have been evaluated for the virus and cleared.

Area hospitals have plans in place to combat the virus in the event an emergency situation arises, officials added. There is no shortage of supplies, including masks, and additional manpower is standing by if needed.

Dr. Monica Bharel, commissioner of the Mass. DPH, stressed that, “Here in Massachusetts, we have the resources, the staff, the connections with our partners in healthcare and public health that we need in order to prepare for this.”

Extra precautions are also being taken by organizers of the PAX East convention that is taking place in Boston from Thursday to Sunday. Cleaning and sanitation is expected to be enhanced throughout the event, which Sony pulled out of due to coronavirus concerns.

While the virus threat continues to grow across the globe, health officials in the Bay State stressed that they have been in constant contact with local colleges, schools, and hospitals in an effort to identify anyone who may be suffering from possible symptoms and to relay the latest information handed down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. Reported worldwide illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, typically between people who are in close contact with one another and via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Bharel warned that the risk of flu in Massachusetts is more serious than coronavirus at this time.

“Right now, if someone has symptoms similar to both coronavirus and influenza, at this time if somebody has those symptoms, it is likely to be influenza, not coronavirus,” she said.

Click here for more information on the coronavirus and tips on how to protect yourself.

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)