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Kentucky hospital emergency room placed on lockdown

DANVILLE, Ky. -- A spokeswoman for Kentucky's health department says a patient being treated for an undisclosed illness at a hospital is not believed to pose a risk to the public's health.

But late in the evening, the hospital announced the patient tested positive for two strains of adult chicken pox.

The emergency room at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville was locked down Saturday as the hospital evaluated a patient for what officials called a potential public health risk.

Hospital spokesman Jeremy Cocanougher said Saturday afternoon the hospital did not have definitive information "that would either rule in or rule out that there is a risk to the community." He did not disclose the nature of the illness or the identity of the patient.

Later Saturday, Gwenda Bond, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said the patient likely does not pose a threat to the public.

In a statement, the hospital said it was working with state and local health officials and coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients were re-directed to other emergency rooms in the area.

CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden told CBS affiliate WKYT the center received a call from the state health department seeking help on Saturday. She said the CDC is providing technical assistance to the hospital.

Danville Police Chief Tony Gray told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the emergency room was put on lockdown because a woman "has a condition that the ER staff is not really sure what it is, so they're just taking precautions."

The woman had apparently been overseas recently but has been isolated, Gray said. He did not know her symptoms.