Health officials: No coronavirus cases in Utah so far, but multiple patients tested

(Michael Sohn | AP file photo) 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.

Multiple patients have been tested for novel coronavirus in Utah, but no cases have been confirmed, health officials said Wednesday.

“The [Utah Department Of Health] is providing information to local health departments and healthcare providers across the state on how to safely and effectively evaluate ill people who have been to China," state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said Wednesday in a news statement. "UDOH will continue to monitor the situation, provide guidance and investigation support so partners across Utah can safely identify and respond to potential cases.”

Five cases of the novel coronavirus — or “2019-nCoV” — have been confirmed in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington, but there is "no evidence that 2019-nCoV is currently spreading from person to person in the U.S.," health officials wrote.

“Outbreaks like this — when a new virus is emerging to infect people — are always concerning,” the health department statement read. “While this situation poses a very serious public health threat, the risk to Utahns is low at this time.”

[Read more: China counts 170 virus deaths, new countries find infections]

Anyone who has traveled to China — especially to Hubei Province, where the virus originated in December — should seek immediate medical care if they experience fever, cough or difficulty breathing, health officials wrote. Those patients should call their doctors or hospitals in advance to notify them of their travel and symptoms so providers can make preparations.

Others can prevent any potential spread by avoiding non-essential travel to China, and avoiding any travel while sick, health officials wrote.

As of Wednesday, there were 6,065 cases confirmed worldwide, with 5,997 of those in China, where 132 people have died from the illness, the World Health Organization reported.