By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In a follow-up to the announcement yesterday of the additional possible instance of COVID-19 community transmission in California, cases were reported in both Washington State and Oregon.
The Washington State Department of Health, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and Snohomish Health District, are announcing two new cases of COVID-19, currently classified as “presumptive positives.” A presumptive positive is a test that comes back positive at the Public Health Laboratory and is pending confirmation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)
The individuals reside in both King and Snohomish Counties. In King County, a woman in her 50s with confirmed travel to Daegu, South Korea is a presumptive positive. She is currently in home isolation.
In Snohomish County, a person under the age of 18 with no travel history is also a presumptive positive. He is currently in home isolation as well. That patient visited Seattle Children’s North Clinic on Monday, Feb. 24. Snohomish County Health District is working alongside the Everett Public Schools to ensure the safety of students and staff at Jackson High School, where this student attends. Everett Public Schools is taking this very seriously and in an abundance of caution, the superintendent has decided to close Jackson High School on Monday to allow three days for deep cleaning.
While the King County case is believed to be travel-related, we don’t know how or where the new Snohomish County case was infected. We are working hard to find and identify how the patients were exposed as well as tracing people who might have been exposed to this patient.
“Now that we are able to expedite test results here at the Public Health Lab in Shoreline, we’re getting results on suspected local cases a lot faster,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “Given the extent of global spread, we expect to identify more individuals with COVID-19 in Washington. We want to emphasize the importance of practicing good health habits.”
The Oregon Health Authority has confirmed Oregon’s first, presumptive case of novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
The case, an adult resident of Washington County, experienced symptoms of COVID-19 beginning Feb. 19, and a sample was collected from the individual today. The sample was sent to the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory in Hillsboro, which used the new COVID-19 test kit it received Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lab tested the sample today—only hours after it validated the new CDC test kit.
“Our first concern is for this individual, to make sure they’re being cared for and is able to recover,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “Our next priority is finding out who this individual had contact with and make sure they know about their risks, and to let them know how they can get care if they need it. We said this was a fast-moving situation, and that has proved to be true.”
The case was not a person under monitoring or a person under investigation. The individual had neither a history of travel to a country where the virus was circulating, nor is believed to have had a close contact with another confirmed case—the two most common sources of exposure. As such, public health officials are considering it a likely community-transmitted case, meaning that the origin of the infection is unknown.
“We are awaiting confirmation of the test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but at this time we are considering this a presumptive case,” said Dean Sidelinger, MD, MSed. “The person in now appropriate isolation and appropriate care.”
The individual spent time in a school in the Lake Oswego school district and may have exposed students and staff there. Public health officials will investigate potential exposures there and contact employees and families of children to let them know next steps.
The individual has been isolated and is being cared for at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro.
This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases detected through the U.S. public health system to 19.
The US has also seen 44 cases among persons repatriated from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship and 3 from Wuhan, China.
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