According to the Washington State Department of Health, the risk of spread of the new strain of the novel coronavirus to the public remains low despite an Everett man testing positive for it.
A new strain of the coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, the capital of the nations Hubei province, in early December.
The city has a population of over 11 million, so far over 4,500 people have contracted the virus (as of Jan. 28) with 106 confirmed deaths. Additionally, there are five confirmed cases in the U.S. with additional cases confirmed in Hong Kong, France Germany, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Wuhan has worked to quarantine its people to prevent additional spread of the virus and has begun to establish a new hospital to treat those who have contracted the virus.
The transmission of the virus is believed to have started following contact with an unidentified animal and then spread through close contact between humans.
Epidemiologists at the county and state agencies in Washington are working to contact individuals who may have had contact with the Everett man, the first U.S. patient that tested positive for 2019 n-CoV.
“We know that the patient traveled to Sea-Tac on Jan. 15 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,” reads a health department release.
As it stands, the number of close contacts thus far is 50, but the Health Department plans to update that number on their website every day at 3 p.m. PST until the virus is under control.
The patient who tested positive for 2019 n-CoV is currently at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett with no set discharge date, the man, said to be in his 30’s is reportedly in satisfactory condition.
Additionally, the department of health is investigating other individuals, unrelated to this patient that may have contracted the virus. Should they test positive for 2019 n-CoV, the department will make a statement to the public.
The department of health wants to remind the public that respiratory infections are common this year that there are ways to avoid the coronavirus and other respiratory infections such as:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then dispose of the tissue in and wash hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
More information on the virus can be found on the Washington State Department of Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.