This undated handout photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a microscopic view of the Coronavirus at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. (CDC/Getty Images)
Seattle is one of five U.S. cities that will begin testing patients with flu-like symptoms for coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The tests will only be given to those who have already tested negative for the flu.
Along with Seattle, the testing is being done in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, with more likely to be added, reports NBC News.
The testing is part of an effort to create an early warning system for the virus, and gain a greater grasp on any potential spreading. As of last week, only 15 patients have been diagnosed in the U.S.
China has seen upwards of 64,000 cases, with more than 1,300 deaths.
The CDC recently expanded its health screenings for the coronavirus to 20 airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. These airports are already part of the United States’ existing system of quarantine stations, which are staffed with public health officials who watch for sick international travelers.
Locally, a Snohomish County man diagnosed with novel coronavirus was recently discharged from Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.
While some symptoms of coronavirus can resemble those of the flu — fever, cough, aches, among others — it’s only believed to be a risk if the person has a connection to Wuhan or another patient with coronavius.
There have been approximately 26 million cases of the flu in the U.S. this season, with about 14,000 deaths, the CDC estimates.