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Duke coronavirus updates: NC hospital patient tests negative for virus, DKU shuts its doors

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An individual admitted to Duke Hospital on Friday showing symptoms of respiratory illness tested negative for coronavirus, according to a Saturday night news release.

“We are pleased that test results were negative and that the patient remains in good health,” State Epidemiologist Zack Moore said in the release. “We are working with [the Centers for Disease Control] and local partners to be sure we are prepared to detect and respond to any possible cases that might occur in North Carolina in the future.” 

The individual arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Jan. 23 after having passed through Wuhan, China. Others who were at the airport were not considered to be at risk for coronavirus infection because the person was wearing a mask.

Thus far, three people in the United States—one each from Illinois, Washington and California—have tested positive for the virus after visiting Wuhan. More than 2,000 cases have been diagnosed in China, leading to at least 56 deaths as of Sunday morning.

Amidst the growing fear in China, Duke Kunshan University announced that classes would be suspended until Feb. 17. DKU students must either leave soon or remain on campus for the next several weeks, according to a news release. Campus access is restricted to essential personnel until Feb. 15.

"Postponing the opening of school was a decision not taken lightly or made precipitously," the release stated. "The highest priority was the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. It was also a decision highly consistent with what many other schools and universities in China are doing." 

DKU has also made efforts to bolster hygiene and sanitation on campus, introducing additional hand sanitizer stations, distributing masks and creating more stringent protocols for dining and custodial workers.

As of Jan. 25, no coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Kunshan. 

Although coronavirus has been featured prominently in the news, it's still most likely that respiratory illness in North Carolina will be caused by the flu or a common cold.

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