BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A 71-year-old man who was found dead in his home after returning from a trip to China does not appear to have been infected with the new coronavirus, the Ada County Coroner said, but more testing is being done out of an abundance of caution.
Coroner Dotti Owens said Wednesday afternoon that the body of Frederick Gilbert was found in his Boise home on Sunday. Gilbert had been dead for some time, and authorities learned he had returned to Boise on Feb. 5 after traveling to India and China. His trip included stops in Shanghai-Pudong and Shenzen, China, according to the coroner’s office.
Because of the circumstances, health authorities tested Gilbert’s remains for coronavirus and influenza. Initial tests for both viruses came back negative, Owens said.
“However due to the condition of the decedent and in an abundance of caution, additional tests are being requested through the CDC,” Owens wrote in a prepared statement. Those additional tests will take up to 10 days, and Owens said the results will be released when they are available.
Owens said the police and other workers who responded to the death have taken all possible safety and protective measures. No other cases of suspected coronavirus have been reported to her office, she said.
Tens of thousands of cases of the illness known as COVID-19 have been reported globally, most of them in China. U.S. officials on Thursday announced the country’s 15th confirmed case of the new coronavirus, in an evacuee from China who had been under quarantine in Texas.
The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. Health officials believe it spreads mainly through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.