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Indiana couple quarantine themselves over fears of coronavirus after trip to China

Kate Thayer, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

He said he contacted state and local health departments in Indiana, and reported where they were in China, and that they have shown no symptoms. Officials told him they didn't need to remain home, but the couple decided to be "overly cautious," Zurek said.

While the CDC has quarantined Americans returning from the epicenter of the outbreak, travelers who have returned from other parts of mainland China and do not show symptoms are advised only to self-monitor and try to limit their contact for 14 days, the virus' incubation period.

Zurek said he and his wife remain healthy but are vigilant about monitoring each other, including their temperature. "Any time one of us do cough, we run up to each other." Thursday marked the 14th day home, but the Zureks added an extra day, just to be "proactive and cautious," he said.

"I read a lot about this virus. I know how it's transmitted. This is just the proper way of doing things, of being safe," Zurek said. "Not only for ourselves, but for the Chicagoland area."

So far there are 13 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States, according to public health officials. That includes a Chicago woman who had traveled to Wuhan, and her husband. Health officials have said they are doing well and remain in isolation, and the risk to most Americans remains low.

Worldwide, the illness has sickened more than 43,000 people, and killed more than 1,000, mostly in China, according to the World Health Organization, which has dubbed it a global health emergency.

Zurek said the perspective of being in China during the outbreak has inspired him and his wife to be more proactive about their health, and now they're even more grateful for their overall good health.


"The one good thing I got out of this is that I feel fortunate," he said. "Our new goal is just to make sure we check ourselves out periodically."

And while the self-quarantine has made him stir crazy, Zurek said he was also forced to make some more short-term goals: Completing his 2019 taxes and cleaning out his email inbox.

While the taxes are done, Zurek said his inbox remains a work in progress.

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