At the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China's Hubei province, health officials reported 14,840 new cases of the virus and 242 new deaths related to the infection according to CNBC. In Wuhan, where the latest outbreak of the coronavirus is alleged to have begun, over 33,000 patients are still hospitalized with many listed as critically ill.
More than 48,000 people have contracted the virus in the Hubei province while the death toll has risen to over 1,300.
Under a new plan for treatment of the virus, the General Office of the National Health and Health Commission and the Office of State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine have added clinical diagnoses to their patient classifications "so that patients can receive standardized treatment according to confirmed cases as early as possible to further improve the success rate of treatment," said a Wednesday news release.
This addition to the classification means that health officials can use lung imaging methods to confirm their diagnoses rather than relying solely on standard nucleic acid tests performed on blood samples.
So far, 14 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S. prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to warn that they expect the virus to "take a foothold in the U.S."
"At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries," Director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dr. Nancy Messonnier said to reporters Wednesday. "This will trigger a change in our response strategy."