The Chicago couple diagnosed with the coronavirus last month have been discharged from the hospital and made their first public comments on the ordeal, health officials said Friday.
The two patients - a husband and wife, both in their 60s - were released to their home "under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health," a spokesman for AMITA Health said in a statement.
The patients were previously being treated at AMITA Health's St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates. The pair also released their first statement on the ordeal Friday.
“With it being an uncomfortable situation, the care and the services we’ve received have been great," the couple said in a joint statement released by AMITA Health. "Everyone’s been very kind and very respectful. This has been the best healthcare experience we’ve ever had, but we’re definitely looking forward to getting home and getting life back to normal."
The couple requested privacy in their transition to home isolation, health officials said.
The woman was the second person diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., health officials announced on Jan. 24. She returned from Wuhan, China - the epicenter of a recent outbreak - on Jan. 13 and was later hospitalized, a state epidemiologist with the Illinois Department of Public Health said in announcing the diagnosis last month.
On Jan. 30, the CDC announced that her husband tested positive for the virus, marking the first instance of person-to-person spread in the U.S.
He had "close contact" with his wife and reported symptoms, health officials said. He was admitted to an area hospital on Jan. 28, the IDPH said, where his condition was stabilized.
"This may be concerning, but based on what we know now, our assessment remains that the immediate risk to the American public is low," Robert Redfield of the CDC said after the man was diagnosed.
While there are many questions still left to be answered on the new virus, such as how quickly it spreads, the CDC said it expected some person-to-person cases.
The virus has already killed more than 636 people in China, sparking travel warnings and airport screenings around the world.