Local public health officials are monitoring an international outbreak of novel coronavirus centered in China. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause respiratory illness. The “2019 novel coronavirus” (2019-nCoV) is a new type of coronavirus.

There are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Grays Harbor County and no persons under investigation. Grays Harbor Public Health is working closely with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to monitor the situation.

The Department of Homeland Security is working in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to screen all travelers from China for fever and respiratory symptoms upon arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  They are requiring travelers who were in the Hubei province during the 14 days before their re-entry into the United States to undergo a health screening at the airport and stay in mandatory quarantine for up to 14 days.  Officials are asking travelers from other areas of mainland China to stay home and monitor their health for the next 14 days with the help of public health officials.

On January 21, 2020, DOH confirmed that a Snohomish County resident who traveled home from China had novel coronavirus.  There is no evidence the virus is spreading within Washington State.

The coronavirus is spread through prolonged face to face contact with an infected person.  Casual contact, such as simply passing someone in an airport concourse, has not been shown to spread the disease.  You should call a health care provider if:

·         You feel sick with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing
— AND —

·         You traveled to China or were in close contact with someone with 2019-nCoV in the 14 days before you began to feel sick.

The current risk of infection with 2019-nCoV in Washington is low, but it is cold and flu season.  There are simple steps people can take to reduce their risk of getting or spreading any viral respiratory infection:

·         Wash your hands often.

·         Avoid touching the face with unwashed hands.

·         Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·         Cover coughs and sneezes.

·         Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

·         Stay home and avoid close contact with others if you are sick.

·         Get a flu shot.  Influenza is currently circulating in the community and it’s not too late.

People planning to travel internationally should consult the CDC website for the latest guidance.

Grays Harbor Public Health has plans in place to respond rapidly to communicable disease risks within our county.  They are working to ensure that local health care providers, government agencies and other organizations have the best information and guidance available and have asked local health care providers to screen patients returning from China for 2019-nCoV and immediately report suspect cases.

Additional resources:

About Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department

Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department works to improve the health and well-being of the people of Grays Harbor.

Visit our website at http://www.healthyGH.org.  Like us on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/healthyghc.