Cork coronavirus result negative but medics remain on high alert 

Cork coronavirus result negative but medics remain on high alert 
French lab scientists in hazmat gear inserting liquid in test tube manipulate potentially infected patient samples at Pasteur Institute in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Scientists at the Pa

Test results have confirmed that the patient who was placed in isolation at Cork University Hospital (CUH) this week does not have the coronavirus.

However, a Cork healthcare expert has warned it is “highly likely” that we will see a confirmed case in Ireland in the next week or so.

The Echo revealed on Wednesday evening that a male patient at CUH was placed in an isolation unit amid concerns he could have coronavirus.

Sources told The Echo that an Irish man, aged in his early- to mid 20s, who recently returned from China, presented at the hospital with symptoms similar to those of the virus.

It is understood that he presented at Cork University Hospital and was assessed at the Medical Assessment Unit.

This assessment raised fears that he could have coronavirus and he was placed in isolation.

Tests were conducted and the results came back negative this evening.

Chris Luke, consultant in emergency medicine and adjunct senior lecturer in public health at University College Cork, warned that people must remain vigilant as it is likely a case of the coronavirus will likely be confirmed in Ireland in the coming weeks. 

“They’re testing for the disease in the UK, it has turned up in Europe in France and Germany, and there has been a dozen or so cases in the US," he said. 

“It’s highly likely we will see a case here in Ireland in the next week or so and that means we must be vigilant." 

“People need to watch out for their own care, that of their families and those around them.

“In a nutshell, people mustn’t just rush off to the nearest hospital or emergency department if they feel unwell because most of the time, their illnesses are caused by the one of the numerous other viruses, like influenza, circulating at the moment.

"It’s highly unlikely, unless they have recently travelled to China or been in contact with someone who has, that they have contracted this coronavirus. 

“In the meantime, I would advise people who are unwell not to go to the crowded emergency department - self care in this situation is vital. Avoid crowded workplaces and GP surgeries, get plenty of rest and fluid, and check out the HSE website undertheweather.com, and if necessary get advice over the phone from your GP practice.

“Wash your hands constantly with hot water and soap and keep alcohol gel with you to use often throughout the day.” 

Dr Luke explained that the majority of people might only experience a mild illness but that the elderly, ill and those undergoing cancer treatment are at risk.

He said that hospitals will manage in the case of an outbreak as staff are prepared for such events.

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