The physician who oversees the hospital system that treated the first known American case of coronavirus said Friday that the number of cases is likely to increase despite preventative measures being taken.
Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, the executive vice president of Providence-St. Joseph Health in King County, Wash., said that the U.S. is likely still on the "steep side" of the curve when it comes to the rise and fall of infection.
"We actually are seeing a significant uptick in the number of cases," Compton-Phillips said on "The Story." "And we expect to continue to see that for the next couple of weeks, because we know that it takes a while once people get exposed to start developing symptoms, and then for those symptoms to get severe enough to actually start seeking health care."
"[E]ven if we stopped all [infection] transmission today, for the next two weeks we would continue to see the uptick in cases. So we know that we are still on the steep part of the curve. But by declaring the emergency and by having people stay at home and do the social distancing, we hope to have that curve level off within the next month."
However, she added that preventative steps both in private life and from the government will help prevent cases in the coming weeks.
"My message is 'prepare, don't panic'," she said. "It's going to be a long spring, and reconnecting with the simple pleasures of being at home I think it's going to be a challenge for everybody across the country."
President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak amid extensive disruptions to the economy and American life, announcing partnerships with major U.S. companies to expand testing capabilities while saying he believes the crisis "will pass.”
The president also announced that he would likely be tested for coronavirus “fairly soon,” after having been in contact with several individuals who have self-quarantined or tested positive for the virus.
Speaking to reporters, the president also said his administration is working to "dramatically increase the availability of tests," amid concerns over the availability of tests for COVID-19, across the country.
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.