Deadly Wuhan Coronavirus Spreads to Everett

The First Case of Wuhan Coronavirus in America Has Been Confirmed at Everett's Providence Regional Medical Center

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Savanna Eickerman

Providence Regional Medical Center located in North Everett where the first case of Wuhan coronavirus has been confirmed in America.

Updated information: Jan. 23

The death toll has risen to 23 as a mysterious virus known as Wuhan coronavirus spreads to the U.S. The first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Washington State on Tuesday Jan. 21 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At this point, none of the deaths have occurred in the United States. 

According to a Washington State Department of Health press release on Jan. 21, “We believe the risk to the public is low. And as this situation evolves, we will continue to communicate with the CDC, Snohomish County and the public,” said Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman. 

CNN reported that the 30-year-old Snohomish County man arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Jan. 15 prior to any U.S. airport health screenings for the virus. Just four days later on Jan. 19 the patient sought out medical care. According to Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday at a news conference at the state Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline, the man was visiting his home country and is a Chinese immigrant who has legal permanent residency in the U.S. 

Center for Disease Control Website
A map showing where the first confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus surfaced in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

The origin of the outbreak has been identified as a city about 700 miles south of Beijing called, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. As of Thursday Jan. 23, over 830 people have been confirmed to carry the virus. South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand have also confirmed the virus’s existence in their country. 

Investigations are ongoing as to how serious this virus is and how to best attack it. Dr. Antony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explained that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) are working on a vaccine, however it won’t be until months later that a clinical trial will be underway and more than a year until it could be available. 

EvCC students Jordan Garcia and Victoria Lentz shared their reaction to the news, “I’m flippin scared,” said Lentz. She went further by explaining how it’s crazy thinking that the only U.S. case of the virus is right down the street. Garcia had confidence that the U.S. will contain the issue. “It’s very terrifying to think about that, I hope we can contain this. But we are America so we can do this,” said Garcia. 

“Providence Regional Medical Center is working closely with the CDC, the Washington State Department of Health and the Snohomish Health District to care for the patient who tested positive for novel Coronavirus,” said Director Of Communications at Providence Regional Medical Center, Casey Calamusa. 

Savanna Eickerman
A reporter for ABC news stands outside of Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett to report on the Wuhan virus on Wednesday Jan. 22.

According to Calamusa, the patient is in satisfactory condition and the risk of human-to-human transmission appears to be limited. In accordance with established infection control protocols, the patient is being monitored in a special isolation unit and is expected to be monitored for at least another 48 hours. 

Providence is also contacting the small number of staff and patients who might have come in contact with the patient at one of their clinics. As a precautionary measure, Providence is also implementing a screening system in their electronic health record to identify patients at risk for infection.  

Symptoms of the virus are similar to a common cold though it results in a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness. A runny nose, cough, sore throat, a possible headache and fever which could last a couple of days are what you should be looking for if you or someone you know believes they might be infected, according to CNN. The elderly, the very young and people with a weakened immune system have an increased chance of the virus causing a lower and more serious respiratory tract illness such as pneumonia or bronchitis. 

The New York Times reports that the CDC has deployed staff overseas to work closely with ministries of health in China and Thailand. 

The virus can spread from human contact with animals. However officials do not know what animal could have caused the current Wuhan outbreak. A cough, sneeze or handshake could spread the virus.

World Health Organization
“Tips on how to reduce your risk of the coronavirus infection” released to Twitter by the Official World Health Organization on Sunday Jan. 17.

Regarding treatment, symptoms will usually go away on their own. The CDC says a room humidifier or hot shower can help with a sore throat or cough and advises people to drink plenty of fluids and rest.

As of 11:47 a.m. on Wednesday Jan. 22, the Chinese city of Wuhan advised its 9 million residents not to leave beginning on Thursday Jan. 23 and is temporarily halting public transportation, local buses, ferries and subways. Railway stations will be “temporarily closed” for any departing passengers. It is unknown when the services will re-open. They take effect at 10 a.m. local time Thursday (9 p.m. ET Wednesday) according to BBC. 

If you or anyone you know have any questions regarding the virus please reach out to your health care professional immediately. If you’d like to stay up to date on the latest information on the virus, the Snohomish Health District has set up a webpage at www.snohd.org/ncov2019, including a detailed FAQ about what is known now.