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Coloradans monitoring coronavirus outbreak, no local cases reported

On Jan. 21, CDC officials confirmed one case of the Wuhan, China coronavirus in the US.

AURORA, Colo. — Cells in a coronavirus are not unusual, according to the medical director of Infection, Prevention, and Control at UCHealth's University of Colorado Hospital, Dr. Michelle Barron.

"It's actually a cold virus," Barron said. "It's one of the most common cold viruses that we see every year."

The new coronavirus strain, yet to be named, originated in Wuhan, China where hundreds have been infected.

Other coronaviruses are SARS and MERS, named for the thing that looks like a crown around each cell.

RELATED: Wuhan to suspend public transportation amid new coronavirus outbreak in China

Barron said people have experienced respiratory symptoms and pneumonia, but doctors don't yet know the extent of this new strain that made its way to the U. S. On Tuesday, a case was reported in a 30-year-old man from Seattle.

RELATED: First US case of China coronavirus confirmed in Washington State

"It's an evolving story in terms of what we expect to see with this," she said. 

And although there are no cases in Colorado, and only one reported case in the U.S., Barron's team has been monitoring it since December, and has added travel screenings for patients at the hospital.

"We'd rather ask the questions and be safe than find out 'uh oh, somebody was here and now we have this information that makes us worry,'" Barron said.

Barron says, however, a person in the U.S. is far more likely to get the flu even if they've travel.

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