A New Hampshire man who was later diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) went to a party while sick despite receiving medical advice to stay home.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced the news in a press release. Though the man — an employee of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center — had been “directed to self-isolate,” he attended an “invitation-only private event” on Friday, Feb. 28.
The state Department of Health and Human Services is contacting guests who “had close contact” with the man and notifying them to begin the recommended two-week self-quarantine.
Though the man is an employee of a medical center, the press release said that the department “is not aware of exposure to any patients in clinical areas” at this time.
In the press release, the state Department of Health and Human Services added that a second man in New Hampshire who was “in close contact” with the first patient has tested positive for coronavirus as well. It was unclear whether the contact occurred at the party. (Both patients are now in quarantine.)
According to The New York Times, the event was a mixer for doctors and Dartmouth College students held at the Tuck School of Business. The outlet reports that the man had gone to a doctor earlier in the day with symptoms of coronavirus, where he received the medical advice to self-quarantine, but he was not tested for the virus until Monday. He had recently traveled to Italy, where the virus is widespread.
Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire’s state epidemiologist, reportedly said that only a small number of people at the party were in close contact with the man, according to The Portland Press Herald.
“The rest of the people at that party are considered low risk and are not asked to self-quarantine, but simply to monitor themselves for symptoms and concerns, and if they develop symptoms, reach out to a health care provider,” Chan said, the outlet reported.
As of Thursday morning, there are 162 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 11 deaths.
California reported its first coronavirus-related death on Wednesday, and the other 10 have all occurred in Washington state. Cases have been reported in several other states, including New York, Texas, Arizona and Florida.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC encourages maintaining basic forms of hygiene including careful hand washing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.