Here's a hypothetical scenario to ponder: If a doctor told you that you might have contracted the coronavirus, which has put literally the entire world on edge and that you needed to avoid other people for a while, would you listen to that person or instead go out to a social event hours later?
According to multiple reports, the man who contracted New Hampshire's first case of coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — decided to go with the second option.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the patient in question was an employee of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. After being examined last Friday by a medical worker due to signs of possible coronavirus infection — i.e., flu-like symptoms following a trip to virus-affected Italy — doctors recommended that he quarantine himself while waiting for further medical testing.
But rather than following that advice, the Times reported, the patient went to a mixer for doctors and college students that very night and was confirmed as having the virus days later. Following his social foray, the partygoer has been ordered into quarantine by the state's health commissioner.
"The individual is complying now," New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Communications Director Jake Leon said, according to the Times.
According to WBTS-TV, the invitation-only mixer was held at The Engine Room, which is an event space just across the New Hampshire state border in neighboring Vermont. The venue's general manager told the news station that there had been between 175 and 200 people at the event, plus seven staff members working there.
In response to the news, the Vermont Department of Health put out a statement Tuesday saying that it had worked with the venue "to ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing efforts were carried out to prevent spread" of the virus.
In the news release, Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine, noted that, due to "minimal possible contact with a case," people who attended the event "are still considered to be at low risk for infection, but out of an abundance of caution the department is seeking contact from anyone in attendance."
"Any people determined to have been in close contact with the patient have been identified and are being notified," the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release Tuesday. "DHHS recommends that those individuals self-quarantine for 14 days after the day they were potentially exposed."