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All coronavirus tests in Metro Louisville have come back negative

Metro Louisville and UofL said hospitals are prepared to treat a possible coronavirus outbreak if needed.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As University of Louisville Health officials discussed local preparedness for coronavirus, officials did confirm four people have been tested in Jefferson County and all tests came back negative.

Dave Langdon with Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness previously confirmed to WHAS11 about 50 people in the area had been asked to self-monitor for symptoms since the beginning of February.

Chief Health Strategist Sarah Moyer said four people in Metro Louisville met the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's criteria to be tested for coronavirus, and all tests came back negative.

During the press conference, Dr. Jason Smith with University of Louisville Health said UofL Health and University Hospital are prepared to treat any influx of patients if needed.

"We train regularly with our staff our isolation protocols," Smith said. "Even before coronavirus was a known entity, we were working on training on how to deal with this."

RELATED: 10 people in Louisville self-monitoring for coronavirus after returning from China

Smith said the hospital has all of the equipment needed to protect staff and other patients if coronavirus does come to Kentucky and a patient does test positive for it.

Several Louisville hospitals have negative pressure rooms to treat and isolate patients if needed, Smith said, but most patients so far do not need hospitalization and would return home.

"If you look across the country and across the world, the majority of patients are treated at home—they are not needing hospitalization," Smith said.

Anyone with symptoms will be tested for the flu first. Smith said everyone with upper respiratory symptoms will also be screened, but testing is only dedicated to people who have traveled to areas on the CDC's risk list in the past 14 days.

"Even if someone were to screen positive...we have the policies and procedures in place to protect, we hope, them as well as our staff," Smith said.

Moyer said the Department of Health has plenty of capacity to test whoever fits testing criteria. Currently, China, Iran, Italy and South Korea are on the CDC's health notice.

Governor Andy Beshear also held a press conference on Kentucky's continued efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He provided updates on the state's testing, prevention and scam awareness.

“I want to reassure Kentuckians that we are still at low risk for exposure to the virus at this time,” Gov. Beshear said. “Every state without COVID-19 cases has been advised that this is highly likely to change. It is imperative that we be prepared. And that is why we want to keep the public aware of not only our new testing efforts, but the efforts that local public health professionals are making to protect Kentuckians.”

The governor urged employers to offer paid sick leave to help ensure sick employees do not go to work. He also encouraged schools and businesses to begin preparing for the spread of coronavirus. 

“We cannot make predictions as to how many cases we could potentially experience in Kentucky,” he said. “We hope there are none, but we are prepared to see cases here based on surveillance from around the U.S. and other parts of the world. Given the nature of the virus and its ability to spread person-to-person, broader transmission will occur.”

Gov. Beshear warned Kentuckians about scammers hoping to cash in on coronavirus fears, as some have claimed to have a cure. He offered a few tips to help people avoid falling victim to scams:

  • Watch out for products that claim to cure coronavirus or guarantee coronavirus prevention.
  • Be wary of emails from con artists pretending to be the CDC or other public health organizations. A legitimate medical provider would never ask for sensitive information through email.
  • Research organizations that are claiming to raise money for a coronavirus vaccine or to help victims.

For more information on COVID-19, check the CDC's website.

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