Coronavirus testing begins in New Mexico

While there are no reported cases of coronavirus in the state, New Mexico Department of Health officials said testing has begun.
State health department officials said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shipped roughly 15,000 coronavirus test kits nationwide, including to New Mexico, and each kit can test 700-800 samples.
KOAT’s health expert said now is the time for prevention, not panic.
“Every patient who comes to a clinic or an emergency room, if there’s a question about a coronavirus infection, should be tested,” Dr. Barry Ramo said.
Ramo said testing is crucial because coronavirus and the flu share a number of symptoms.
“The symptoms are basically very similar. You get fever, chills, a cough,” Ramo said.
But it’s what makes coronavirus and the flu different that is potentially the most dangerous.
“Fifty percent of the population gets a flu vaccine. Unfortunately with this particular virus, no one has any natural immunity,” Ramo said.
While state health officials are not saying how many people they’ve tested, they did say they’ve been monitoring 30 people in New Mexico who recently traveled to China and none of them has shown any symptoms.
But Ramo said someone’s travel history is no longer the only factor to consider.
“Now we’re seeing cases where there was no connection to China, so it’s important to recognize that this can be endemic in a community without ever having someone who was known to be in the epicenter of the epidemic,” he said.
He said good hygiene can keep both coronavirus and the flu from spreading and that’s what people should be concerned about right now.
“I think the most important thing is that people should not panic and they should get a flu shot because that’s still the real danger,” he said.
Ramo said both coronavirus and the flu pose a greater danger to people over 65 and those who suffer from chronic illnesses.
State health department officials said fewer than 500 Americans nationwide have required testing for coronavirus. Full Credits KOAT Albuquerque.

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