The last remaining coronavirus test for a New York City resident has come back negative, leaving the city with no confirmed cases to date, according to the city's Health Department. In total, there had been seven suspected cases, one of them being a resident outside the five boroughs who had been hospitalized in the city.
Statewide, there are also no confirmed cases, with 22 cases outside the city having tested negative.
Since February 6th, the Health Department has been updating the number of suspected cases once a day as well as the results of pending tests on its website. Earlier on Wednesday, the site showed one pending test, but the agency later tweeted that it was negative. Although the CDC had said individual states could begin performing their own tests this week, a problem in verifying some of the agency's diagnostic test kits has held up the process. In the New York, the tests are still being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Federal health officials continue to be on guard for the disease, which was believed to have started in Wuhan, China and has reportedly killed at least 1,118 and infected 42,708 people. Most of the deaths and cases have been in central China. So far one American, who had been hospitalized in Wuhan, has died from the disease.
Although Chinese health officials on Wednesday said that the rate of infection has been slowing, the Centers for Disease Control was hesitant to embrace the news, saying that the data had not yet been confirmed by with CDC scientists nor a World Health Organization team which is currently in China.
To date, the U.S. CDC has not been invited by the Chinese government to help examine and contain the outbreak in China.
"We want to have folks on the ground," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, during a telephone news briefing on Wednesday. "Our scientists have a lot to offer."
Among the situations the CDC is monitoring is a quarantined cruise ship docked in Japan known as the Diamond Princess. At least 175 people—the most in one location anywhere outside of China—have been infected, among more than 3,600 crew and passengers, according to the New York Times. The Times reported on Wednesday that an employee of the country’s Health Ministry tested positive for the virus after boarding the ship to survey passengers, who have complained about a lack of information from the Japanese government.
The ship's passengers have been quarantined on board since February 4th. Approximately 20 Americans are known to be among those infected, and Dr. Messonnier said the CDC was working the U.S. embassy in Japan and the state department to decide the best course of action to take.
On Tuesday, the WHO proposed an official name for the new coronavirus: COVID-19. The acronym stands for coronavirus disease 2019, with the year denoting when it was discovered. According to international guidelines, it does not make any reference to a geographical location, group of people, or animals associated with the coronavirus, so as to avoid stigma.
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