Amsterdam Covid-19 patient a hospital worker; healthy enough to be quarantined at home

The woman from the Amsterdam region who was diagnosed with coronavirus Covid-19 on Friday is an employee of the Amsterdam UMC, the hospital confirmed on Friday. She did not work with patients. The woman does not have to be hospitalized. Her symptoms are minor enough that she can safely be quarantined at her home in Diemen, Aura Timen, spokesperson for public health institute RIVM, said to NOS.

The woman came back from holiday this week and was working at the hospital for a short time on Thursday, the hospital said. The chance of further infection at the hospital is small, UMC Amsterdam said. Municipal health service GGD Amsterdam is currently identifying exactly who the woman had contact with. 

"Coronavirus infections have a whole range of symptoms. From very mild to very serious," Timen said. "On the most serious spectrum you have people who need to be admitted with severe pneumonia or people who really need to be placed in intensive care and are treated there. On the lighter spectrum you have people who suffer from fever, cough, shortness of breath who can  stay at home and recover from the disease at home. This patient has such a milder illness."

"What is very important is that the symptoms allow her to stay at home," Timen said to NPO Radio 1. "The GGD know exactly which advice applies so that others around her cannot be infected."

One Diemen Noord resident told NL Times that the rumors she resides just a few blocks away were unnerving. She said that she was particularly concerned about the possibility that the GGD has to sort out whose children played with each other, especially as her own daughter has had respiratory issues in the past.

The man from Loon op Zand who is being treated for Covid-19 in a Tilburg hospital at the moment, also does not seem to be on the worst end of the spectrum. In a press conference earlier on Friday, Tilburg mayor Theo Weterings said the man was doing well and the health authorities are considering having him quarantined at home. 

The fact that there have been two Covid-19 diagnoses in the Netherlands does not mean the country is going on "lock down", Minister Bruno Bruins for Medical Care said to Het Parool. "We are alert and are taking the appropriate measures, but life goes on," the Minister said. "We have known for a long time that the virus was coming. We have always labeled that a real risk. We have prepared well and continue to do so."

The government launched a helpline that Netherlands residents can call with questions about the coronavirus. The number is 0800-1351.

Pharmacy umbrella organization KNMP has advised pharmacists to place customers who show up with symptoms in a separate room and give them a mouth mask. All newspapers and magazines should be removed from the waiting area to prevent contamination, KNMP advised.