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BARBOURVILLE — Test results for a Union College student with a potential infectious disease at Barbourville Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospital came back negative Wednesday afternoon.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) was notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the student did not have an infectious disease after the CDC performed tests at its facility in Atlanta. The student was put in isolation after he was diagnosed with the possibility of having an infectious disease on Tuesday.

DPH Commissioner Dr. Angela Dearinger said tests revealed there was no high-level threat to hospital staff or the community.

“This was nothing out of the ordinary for any U.S. hospital,” she said. “After receiving the test results, as well other details about this incident, we can confirm there was never a risk of highly infectious disease.”

Dearinger said state health experts followed proper infectious disease protocols with hospital, local and federal officials.

The student was in quarantine on Tuesday and Wednesday after the diagnosis of a potential infectious disease and Union College had confirmed on Tuesday that health officials had told the college it was not the Ebola virus and that it was not airborne. It was also confirmed by the college that the student had not traveled outside of the country during the winter break.

"A lengthy phone conference with the CDC and other health officials this afternoon confirmed that the student had been misdiagnosed," said Union College President Marcia Hawkins in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "Early reports of infectious disease were circulated without confirmation and without approval of Barbourville ARH Communications Department. In other words, a great deal of fear and panic was generated without cause."

Dr. Maria Braman, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for the ARH system, applauded the diligence of the Barbourville ARH Hospital emergency room staff as well as the CDC and the Kentucky DPH for their assistance in protecting the health and wellbeing of the communities Barbourville ARH serves.

“In medicine, it is our practice to always protect the patient. We test for the worst and hope for the best. We are relieved that is the case for this patient at Barbourville ARH Hospital,” she said. “The staff at Barbourville ARH took the necessary precautions for treating a potential infectious disease with the information they had, and this was not a misdiagnosis but rather a best possible outcome for this patient which we are relieved to report.”

Hawkins added, "The real victim in this scenario is our student. I trust our campus community will be the family to him that we profess to be."

The student was reportedly feeling better on Wednesday.

“My administration took immediate action working with officials to quickly respond and we are pleased to announce that Kentuckians were never at risk,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “We thank everyone who helped address the concern.”

WEDNESDAY'S ORIGINAL UPDATE:

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) was notified Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all test results of a potential infectious disease case at the Barbourville Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) hospital in Barbourville are negative.

“My administration took immediate action working with officials to quickly respond and we are pleased to announce that Kentuckians were never at risk,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “We thank everyone who helped address the concern.”

DPH Commissioner Dr. Angela Dearinger said tests revealed there was no high-level threat to hospital staff or the community.

“This was nothing out of the ordinary for any U.S. hospital,” she said. “After receiving the test results, as well other details about this incident, we can confirm there was never a risk of highly infectious disease.”

Dearinger said state health experts followed proper infectious disease protocols with hospital, local and federal officials.

"A lengthy phone conference with the CDC and other health officials this afternoon confirmed that the student had been misdiagnosed," said Union College President Marcia Hawkins in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "Early reports of infectious disease were circulated without confirmation and without approval of Barbourville ARH Communications Department. In other words, a great deal of fear and panic was generated without cause."

Hawkins added, "The real victim in this scenario is our student. I trust our campus community will be the family to him that we profess to be."

Additional information is available at http://chfs.ky.gov/.

STORY AS REPORTED ON TUESDAY BY THE TIMES-TRIBUNE:

BARBOURVILLE — Barbourville Appalachian Regional Healthcare Hospital is currently investigating a patient with a possible infectious disease so the patient is in quarantine.

ARH released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying it can confirm that the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating.

"We cannot comment on specific patient cases due to patient confidentiality," the release said. "Barbourville ARH is working closely with the state health department and the CDC to follow all proper recommendations and current guidelines to ensure our patients receive the best of care, and others within our hospital remain safe."

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) said in a statement that close contacts of the individual have been identified and are being monitored.

“We want to assure Kentuckians we are aware of a potential infectious disease and are working collaboratively with the local hospital as well as local, regional, and federal public health authorities to determine not only a possible cause of illness, but any steps that need to be taken to protect the health and wellbeing of our Commonwealth,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Angela Dearinger. “We do not believe the wider community to be at-risk and appropriate protocols were followed at the hospital to prevent exposure to other patients.”

Barbourville ARH is open and seeing patients as normal.

Any threat to the general public is being assessed, but is believed to be extremely low, according to the Kentucky DPH. Additional information will be shared as details are confirmed. At this time, a diagnosis has not been made as health officials work to complete necessary medical and laboratory testing outlined by infectious disease protocols.

Union College President Marcia Hawkins also released a statement on Tuesday.

"I have been notified by the Health Department that one of our Union College students is currently in isolation at ARH," Hawkins said. "We have been informed that there is no immediate risk to the public. However, we will take every precaution to ensure the safety of our campus community. We have not been told the identity of the student."

Hawkins said the student is undergoing tests to identify the virus.

"So far, we know that the student did not contract the Ebola virus, as has been speculated by posts on Facebook, and that it is not airborne. Also, I’ve been told that the student did not travel out of the country during the break," she said.

"We will continue to be in touch with the CDC and the State and Local Health Departments, and I will release information as it becomes available," she added. "Of primary concern at this time is the fact that one of our students has been hospitalized. Please keep the student in your prayers."

Anyone experiencing signs or symptoms of a viral illness, including fever, nausea, body aches, or lethargy, is encouraged to seek health care immediately, according to the Kentucky DPH.

DPH is following up to inform any hospital worker or close contact of the patient about symptoms to look for in case this illness turns out to be a risk to others.

Additional updates or information related to the investigation will be shared with the public as they become available, if needed.

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