Potential coronavirus case in Tennessee pushes companies, hospitals to take precautions

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Local hospitals and companies are taking precautions to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus after a Tennessee student began to show symptoms.

On Thursday night, a Tennessee Tech University student was placed in isolation after presenting mild symptoms of the coronavirus. The case is not confirmed at this time.

The coronavirus is rapidly spreading in China. Images show tens of thousands of travelers wearing masks as concerns over the mysterious virus grow. China has imposed indefinite travel restrictions on tens of millions of people across ten cities.

As of Friday, the virus has claimed the lives of at least 26 people across China's mainland.

 The virus can cause an infection in the nose, sinuses and throat.

 "Often times it's simple illnesses such as cold-like symptoms that they cause," said Dr. Bruce Randolph, a health department with the Shelby County Health Department.

 Randolph said  the concern isn't here in Shelby County, but there is awareness.

A spokesperson with Bartlett-St.Francis said employees at the hospital will continue to screen patients about travel history and sick contacts.

Coronaviruses are transmitted by animals and people. The Wuhan strain, where this latest outbreak is believed to have started, has been linked to a market that was selling seafood and live, wild animals.

In a statement, FedEx told WREG they do not have any animal shipments from China. FedEx also said they're supplying surgical masks and alcohol wipes to team members and vendors, supplying hand sanitizer, and disinfecting facilities in areas where outbreaks have occurred.

The safety and well-being of our team members is our top priority, and we are closely monitoring guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). FedEx is supplying surgical masks and alcohol wipes to team members and vendors, supplying hand sanitizer, and disinfecting facilities in areas where outbreaks have occurred. We are also encouraging our team members to take any signs of illness seriously and seek medical attention as needed.

But closer to home, Randolph said the flu is a bigger issue. He said the number of flu cases is higher compared to last year, both nationwide and in Shelby County.

"The biggest concern is flu and it's not too late to get your flu shot if you have not received it," Randolph said. " Even if they may have some flu-like symptoms tend to recover quicker than say a person who has not been vaccinated."

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