January 31- On the afternoon of January 31, 2020 , the U.S. federal government declared the situation with novel coronavirus to be a Public Health Emergency, including updated travel and quarantine measures. For the latest information click on this link. SeaTac Airport has also issued Traveler Updates on Coronavirus Response.
The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China in December of 2019 and is currently referred to as 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV. The fact that this virus has caused severe illness and sustained person-to-person spread in China is concerning, but it is unclear how the situation in the United States will unfold at this time. For the general public in the U.S., who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low.
Public health officials still advise that the best preventative actions are the same ones you follow to prevent the flu and common colds. Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Stay home when sick. Personal hygiene and hand washing continue to be the best prevention. While not protective against novel coronavirus, public health officials also recommend the influenza vaccine. It’s not too late to get an influenza vaccine, since flu season can last into spring.
On January 21, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health announced the first case in the United States of 2019-nCoV in a resident of Snohomish County, WA who had recently traveled to Wuhan, China where the outbreak began. As of January 28, 2020, there are five confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in the United States (1- WA, 1- IL, 1-AZ, 2-CA). There has been no identification of locally acquired 2019-nCoV cases in King County.
Public Health King County & Seattle continues to conduct surveillance for detection of new cases and monitor for potential exposure of individuals to the novel coronavirus. As of 5PM January 28, 2020, there are four persons under investigation in King County.
Public Health has activated their Emergency Operations Center and is continuing to develop materials for the public and the media. Their website has the most current information about the novel coronavirus.
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