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Johnson, other U.S. Senators press government agencies on coronavirus response

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked federal officials about efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Johnson is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

During a roundtable Wednesday, Johnson pressed federal officials on travel restrictions in place and how they're following up with people who may have been exposed to the virus while traveling.

"For example, we have a case in Madison, we have the flight, so I was asking, are we contacting everybody on that flight? Are we contacting passengers three rows [around them] and who's doing that?" asked Johnson.

"When there's a situation like that, the travel exposure potential, it is the local and state public health department that identify the case and begin the process of working with the airline to contact passengers," responded Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the CDC.

Wisconsin DHS said it contacted people sitting near the infected patient in Madison. They have not said if any of those people were the ones being tested.

State health officials report all pending tests of coronavirus in the state are now negative. There is just the one confirmed case.

Meanwhile, CDC officials are concerned there's still the potential for cases of coronavirus to growing in the U.S. The agency is taking steps to prepare if there is an outbreak.

At the time of publication, there are 13 confirmed cases in the U.S. 11 were contracted from travel to China. Two were passed from infected patients.

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