Coronavirus considered ‘low-risk’ for public, despite confirmation of virus in Washington state

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Inslee and Health Secretary John Wiesman address coronavirus case found in Snohomish County

Posted by 4 News Now on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

SNOHOMISH CO., Wash. — State and federal health officials said the risk of the public contracting Wuhan coronavirus is low, despite a newly confirmed case in Washington state.

A Snohomish County man in his 30s tested positive for the virus after traveling to China. The man arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on January 15 and sought medical care for symptoms on January 19.

Due to the patient’s symptoms and recent travel, doctors had reason to believe the diagnosis was Wuhan coronavirus. Tests were then sent to the CDC in Atlanta and were confirmed to be positive on Monday.

Dr. Jay Cook, Chief Medical Officer at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, said the patient is being treated there and is in satisfactory condition. The patient is expected to be held for another 48 hours before potentially being released.

Health officials said during a press conference on Tuesday that the risk of human-to-human transmission of the virus is relatively low. The patient has been placed in isolation and the public should not be worried about contracting the disease.

That said, authorities are working to get in touch with anyone who may have come into contact with the patient during his travel.

Last week, health screenings were put in place for people traveling between Wuhan and the United States. People traveling to and from Wuhan must now travel through and be screened at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Hartson-Jackson Atlanta International and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Health officials said the outbreak began in late December at an animal market in Wuhan. Health officials still do not know much about the novel virus, but the CDC has activated its emergency response system as a result.

“We continue to learn more every day. As you’ve heard, this is something that we consider to be of low risk to the public, but we want to be vigilant,” said CDC Dr. Satish Pillai.

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