Philadelphia Health Officials Investigating Possible Coronavirus Case At William Penn Charter School In East Falls

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Health officials are investigating the possibility of a coronavirus case at a Philadelphia charter school. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health confirms to CBS3 there is a possible coronavirus case at William Penn Charter School in East Falls.

The department is working with the school, regional and state partners using guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if it is actually a novel coronavirus case.

William Penn Charter School says they are hosting a group of students from China and last Tuesday eighteen students and three chaperones arrived at the Penn Charter campus.

One of the Chinese exchange students began to feel unwell at the end of last week. They were put into isolation pending the results of a test for the new coronavirus per federal and state guidelines.

The exchange group left from an airport near their home on Jan. 16 and flew into Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, where the coronavirus was first identified. From there, the students transferred planes and took a direct flight to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

The test results are expected within days but the school says the student’s symptoms have not worsened and the student is now feeling better.

“Health officials have informed the school that the exposure time in Wuhan was limited and it is important to know that many other common respiratory viruses are circulating in China and here in the United States at this time, so the student’s illness is more likely to be caused by one of those viruses,” the school said in a statement.

The health department says “the risk from this novel coronavirus to Philadelphians is low.”

Coronavirus, which is similar to a common cold and spreads the same way, causes severe respiratory symptoms and a fever, just like the flu.