For immediate release: January 24, 2020 (20-010)
Contact: Lisa Stromme Warren, Washington State Department of Health, 360-628-7883
Update on statewide response to 2019 novel coronavirus: contact investigation continues
OLYMPIA – Since announcing the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus in Washington, several local and state agencies continue to work on a multi-faceted public health response. While the risk to the public remains low, epidemiologists at the county, state and federal levels are hard at work on a contact investigation to identify, notify, and monitor those who came into close contact with the patient who tested positive for 2019 n-CoV.
The current number of close contacts stands at 50. This is the number of close contacts being actively monitored in Washington state. We plan to update the number of close contacts daily at 3pm here on the Department of Health website.
The patient who tested positive for 2019 n-CoV remains in satisfactory condition at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett and no discharge date has been set.
We know that the patient traveled to Sea-Tac on January 15th before he became ill. We are notifying other people from Washington who were sitting close by the patient on the airplane in an abundance of caution.
The Washington State Department of Health, in collaboration with local health departments, is investigating a few individuals (unrelated to the first patient/case) for the novel coronavirus infection. Should they test positive we will notify the public. As a reminder, respiratory illnesses are very common at this time of year.
There are steps people can take to reduce their risk of getting any viral respiratory infections. These include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
It is also important for people to stay at home away from others if they are sick.
When it comes to protecting the public’s health, we are all in this together. Allowing for misinformation to spread, stigma to thrive, or otherwise ostracizing community members is counter-productive to improving public health and safety.
DOH has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
More information on 2019 novel coronavirus is available from:
- Public Health Seattle-King County
- Snohomish Health District
- Washington State Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The DOH website is your source for a healthy dose of information. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for the DOH blog, Public Health Connection.