EVERETT — Two Snohomish County residents are among the eight people in Washington being tested for possibly having the Wuhan coronavirus.
“They are connected to contact investigations from the confirmed case in Snohomish County,” said Heather Thomas, Snohomish Health District spokeswoman. Specimens were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Monday.
State officials are monitoring 63 people who were in close contact with the Snohomish County man after he returned Jan. 15 from Wuhan, China, epicenter of the virus. The man was admitted a week ago to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
“In a complex case like this one, it is to be expected that we identify others who need to be tested. That is why our disease investigators are doing daily monitoring for potential symptoms,” Thomas said.
Test results were pending for two University of Washington students who traveled to Wuhan and later developed symptoms. Both lived on campus but have since been placed in isolated housing. A third student who went and fell ill had a negative test result. None of the students were hospitalized.
The nation’s first case of coronavirus was reported in Snohomish County last week. The man in his 30s is one of five confirmed cases. He remained in satisfactory condition Monday in the isolation unit at Providence.
The five cases in the U.S. span four states. The virus has infected a reported 2,700 in China and killed more than 100.
The health department maintains the risk to Washington residents remains low, yet said it is concerning because it’s a new strain and can cause pneumonia.
Two people in California, one in Arizona and another in Illinois were confirmed by testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is the only lab site in the U.S. where testing for the virus is done, but plans are to coordinate testing with local and state public health departments.
As of Monday, the CDC had tested 110 people from 26 states. Thirty-two results came back as negative and 73 tests are pending.
UW Medicine is among those working on new diagnostic tests for the virus, known as 2019 novel coronavirus
The lab of Dr. Alex Greninger, from the virology division of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is developing a diagnostic test based on the latest genomic information about this emerging virus.
“We can ramp this up relatively quickly…” Greninger said in a news release. “We’re ready for these things all the time.”
On Sunday, the State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray, just south of Tacoma, reported it is now employing a Level 1 full activation response to the coronavirus. A joint information center was established.
A Providence spokesman said the hospital is coordinating with the CDC and state and local health agencies on monitoring and treating the patient in Everett and in determining discharge plans.
The state has a call center for questions and concerns from the public. Call 800-525-0127 and press #.