The Washington man who was the first U.S. patient diagnosed with the coronavirus after returning from a trip to China has been released from the hospital and is continuing to recover in isolation at home.
“I am home and continuing to get better,” the 35-year-old, who did not wish to be identified, said in a statement released to the Associated Press. “I ask that the media please respect my privacy and my desire not to be in the public eye.”
The man, who had been hospitalized at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, since Jan. 20, thanked his care team and said he looked “forward to returning to my normal life.”
While the hospital declined to provide additional information about his release, it was said that he will continue to work with the Snohomish Health District and communicate with the hospital while in isolation.
Dr. George Diaz, section chief of infectious diseases at the hospital, told Fox News that the initial care of the man involved using a robot to help protect staff against the virus.
“All interactions between myself and the patient initially were through the use of a robot, which is basically a telehealth module that we use outside the room in our command center,” Diaz said.
He said the robot was in the room with the patient and can be manipulated to move closer to him so that they could evaluate him without risking contamination.
At the time of the Jan. 23 interview Diaz said his patient had been treated with supportive therapy and was stable. He said the staff was awaiting further instruction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in terms of testing and discharge.
As of Monday, there had been 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., while over 20,000 had been reported worldwide, with 99 percent occurring in China. In addition to the man in Washington, six cases were confirmed in California, one in Arizona, one in Massachusetts and two in Illinois.
There have been at least 425 deaths tied to the outbreak, with the first two fatalities outside of China recently reported in the Philippines and Hong Kong.