Littleton hospital awaiting coronavirus test results for international student

Published: Jan. 28, 2020 at 4:49 PM EST
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Concerns about the deadly coronavirus have reached our region. New Hampshire health officials Tuesday confirmed that two patients who may have contracted the virus in China are in isolation at hospitals in Littleton and Concord awaiting test results.

While nobody was walking around downtown Littleton with medical masks Tuesday, local residents they are nervous that the potentially deadly virus might be in their own backyard.

"Littleton Regional Hospital currently has a patient with a travel history and symptoms pointing to a suspected case of coronavirus," said the hospital's Robert Nutter.

Hospital officials say that on Thursday, a 19-year-old male student from the nearby White Mountain School arrived in an ambulance and was immediately placed into an isolation room.

"This is a suspected case and we are waiting on the CDC to deliver the results of the testing," Nutter said. "Our other patients, staff and the public are at no risk of exposure."

In a statement, the school said that the international student was in China over winter break. They say he recognized his symptoms, first isolating himself at the school and then calling for an ambulance.

"He wasn't very sick to begin with and at this point he is asymptomatic and he hasn't had a fever since, so he is doing very well," said the hospital's Dr. Edward Duffy.

He says they have taken the correct precautions including isolation in a negative pressure room. When you open the door to the room, air rushes in so no air can leave the room and into the general atmosphere.

According to the CDC, details around the strain of the virus aren't completely clear.

"The CDC estimates that its a mild respiratory illness. However, for the very young and very old, mild illnesses can be quite troublesome and fatal," Duffy said.

Even though the hospital says there is no concern of this suspected virus spreading in the region, community members are still worried.

"Hopefully they figure it out over there and nobody else gets it," said Chrystal Lesperance of Whitefield

"It's something you don't want in the area, but hey everybody goes everywhere so everything comes everywhere," said Nick Haile of Lyme.

The health department says that there is no exact time table on when those lab results will come back fro the CDC as there is a backup.