What to Know
- Officials announced another case of new coronavirus in Montgomery County, bringing the total in the county to nine and the total in Pennsylvania to 15 by Wednesday morning.
- One of the cases in Montgomery County is a doctor known to have traveled overseas who was being treated at a Philadelphia hospital in critical condition.
- The doctor worked at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's King of Prussia health facility, and may have exposed more than a dozen others to the virus.
A doctor who works at a King of Prussia health facility is one of nine cases of the new coronavirus in Montgomery County and 16 in Pennsylvania, health officials said.
The doctor was exposed to the virus while out of the country, state and county health officials said Monday. His wife has also tested positive for the virus.
Pennsylvania health officials said the doctor was listed in critical condition Monday while being treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
On Monday, CHOP suspended services at its KOP Cardiology and Allergy clinics, sending patients to the main campus instead, according to the letter.
Penn Medicine confirmed the patient is being treated at the University City medical center. An isolation room is being used, "which is designed for both optimal medical care of patients with infectious diseases and the protection of staff and other patients," Patrick Norton, Penn Medicine’s vice president for public affairs, said.
CHOP president and CEO Madeline Bell said that any staff or patients' families who came in contact with the hospitalized cardiologist were directed to self-quarantine for 14 days and would be tested for COVID-19.
The doctor and his wife live in Upper Merion Township.
Other cases have been reported in Lower Merion, where there are two cases; Cheltenham, with one case; Lower Gwynedd, with two cases; Worchester, with one; and Perkiomen, with one, according to the county health department's website.
County officials said that, despite the contagion connection between the doctor and various students, all official cases still linked contraction of the virus with travel to other countries, with the exception of the case of a 70-year-old woman in Cheltenham.
The cases in Lower Gwynedd include a student at Germantown Academy, which closed through Wednesday after the student and a parent tested positive.
The student, who has no siblings at the school and doesn’t use to bus to get to school, remains in self-isolation, the letter said.
The Montgomery County cases also include an adult man and adult woman who live in the same home in Lower Merion Township. Officials announced Sunday that the man and woman have mild symptoms that don't require hospitalization and are isolated at home, officials said.
They were both exposed to the virus while traveling out of the country to an area where COVID-19 is present.
So did the person in the Worchester case, officials believe.
And one case announced Wednesday was that of a police officer in Lower Providence Township, county officials said.
“Coronavirus is very contagious, and we fully expect that we will see additional cases here in Montgomery County,” Arkoosh said.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners will sign a disaster declaration, which will provide “more people more supplies with less red tape” by easing some rules on public spending, Arkoosh said.
Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, muscle pain or fatigue and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. The virus has an incubation period – the time between exposure and the first appearance of symptoms – of about five days.
COVID-19 is spread mainly from person-to-person when droplets from an infected person who coughs or sneezes land on someone else’s nose or mouth or enter their lungs, according to the CDC. It can also be spread when someone touches their own mouth, nose and possibly eyes after coming into contact with a surface that has the virus on it.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol – wiping down dirty surfaces and using the inside of the elbow to cover a cough or sneeze.
Arkoosh asked employers to offer paid sick leave to employees to reduce the likelihood of someone spreading the coronavirus by showing up ill to work.
“Obviously, anyone who needs that paycheck to take care of their family is going to come to work because their family is going to be more important to them. So, please consider a policy of methods that would let your employees to stay home, and do that in a way that allows them to continue to provide economic stability for their families,” she said.