Washington health officials closely monitor people for coronavirus | KNKX

Washington health officials closely monitor people for coronavirus

Jan 30, 2020

Washington public health leaders say they are still watching a handful of people who may be infected with the new coronavirus. But no one has tested positive — since the first case, a man from Snohomish County, was diagnosed with the virus.

Like a machine — that’s how Patty Hayes describes the hustle of the coronavirus incident command center in downtown Seattle. 

“This is the large group coordinating with all different parts of the health care system,” said Hayes, director of Seattle and King County’s public health department.

Hayes says all the unknowns make this different from other outbreaks, like measles. “So when a provider calls or a concerned family calls sometimes we can’t tell them exactly what is the transmission way.”

That's why this is one of the biggest public health mobilizations in the state’s history, says Gov. Jay Inslee. He's asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to quickly begin enhanced screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, for anyone traveling from parts of China where there has been human to human transmission. 

“We are suggesting that we have the temperature taken of passengers before they enter,” Inslee said. “We think that is appropriate in part because there is a lot we don’t know about this virus."

The Washington man diagnosed with the coronavirus remains in isolation at an Everett hospital. It’s not clear when he’ll be discharged.