NJ Coronavirus Patient Says Hospital Was Unprepared For His Case

Researchers Work On Developing Test For Coronavirus At Hackensack Meridian's Center For Discovery and Innovation

Researchers Work On Developing Test For Coronavirus At Hackensack Meridian's Center For Discovery and Innovation

A patient being treated at a New Jersey hospital for the novel coronavirus is painting a picture of disarray with regards to the government and medical field's response to the virus.

James Cai, a 32-year-old physician's assistant, told Pix11 New York on Wednesday that he was shocked when his symptoms did not trigger COVID-19 protocol when he arrived at the emergency room on March 1.

He says he was kept in the ER for four days and not properly isolated from other patients. He was then quarantined for five days more days, but hospital staff did not administer treatments that have been proven effective in the Chinese outbreak.

Cai, who is now being treated at Hackensack University Medical Center, also struck back at the popular misconception that COVID-19 is an old person's disease. He noted that he has no known risk factors or pre-existing conditions, yet his symptoms of fever, shortness of breath and diarrhea continue to worsen.

"They are surprised it can be so bad and I'm so young," he told ABC 7 on Tuesday.

Cai day earlier, he told ABC 7 that he believes he contracted the virus in late-February at a medical meeting at the Westin Hotel in Times Square.

The hospital treating him has a bed ready for him in the ICU in case his condition deteriorates.

His family self-quarantined after he tested positive with the virus.

New Jersey had 23 confirmed and New York had over 200 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday.

The World Health Organization officially declared the virus a pandemic Wednesday morning.

Photo: Getty Images

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