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Newport News students quarantined over coronavirus concerns

Four students from Newport News are being quarantined after traveling to China. Health officials said this will now be the standard practice.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — After Newport News school officials alerted parents that four students who traveled to China were “self-monitoring” in quarantine for 14 days, healthcare requirements became more clear.

The four students visited extended family on a trip to China and came back last week. They did not travel to Wuhan where the coronavirus was first detected. 

The students were cleared to fly back to the United States and school officials said they went to class for one day.

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Health officials say the same day the students went to school was the same exact day the CDC changed their guidelines to require people who visit China to stay in quarantine for 14 days after arriving to the U.S. 

Neighbor Patricia McCullom is worried about the “self-monitoring” process.

“People shouldn’t self-check themselves, I mean they’re not doctors. I really think they should see some professional people. When the 14 days are over, they should be checked more often,” said McCullom.

The family is required to check in with the Virginia Department of Health each day and report if their symptoms change. But EVMS Dr. Robert Bradshaw said the symptoms of the coronavirus would be clear.

“Fever, cough, shortness of breath. These are the things that when people come out of the country and are self-monitoring, they need to look for. And if they find those then they should notify their healthcare provider,” he said.

Bradshaw said that right now is a vital time to be careful.

“We’re still learning about this virus and we’re still learning about the transmissibility and severity of the disease. It’s very important for people to be cautious.”

Bradshaw said that the medical community is prepared if anyone developed coronavirus symptoms.

“We’ll give you a mask to prevent you from spreading it to others, put you in isolation rooms that we have that negative pressure and things like that would protect you from infecting other patients and then we would do appropriate testing,” said Bradshaw.

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