Health care workers on lookout for coronavirus

One person in Island County who had possible contact with the coronavirus and displayed symptoms was voluntarily isolated for a few days before a test came back negative for the illness, according to Island County Public Health Director Keith Higman.

Nobody else in the county is currently being investigated for coronavirus exposure, but a couple of recent travelers are being monitored, he said.

While officials at public health and the hospital have been closely monitoring the situation, the risk of coronavirus on Whidbey Island is low, WhidbeyHealth reported.

More than 1,380 people in China have died from the virus, which is believed to have spread from a bat in a live animal market in Wuhan Province.

The nation’s first case of coronavirus was announced in Snohomish County on Jan. 21. Higman said health officials investigated where the person who tested positive had been and who he had been in contact with. It means a lot of phone calls, he said. One of the people who came into contact with the infected person was from Island County, which led to the quarantine and testing.

Higman said his staff participated in three or four statewide conference calls a day regarding different aspects of coronavirus.

WhidbeyHealth Medical Center and its clinics asks that patients call first if they have recently traveled out of the country and are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or trouble breathing within 14 days of returning; they should also call first if, in the last 14 days before symptom onset, they have had close contact with a person who is under investigation for coronavirus while that person was ill.

WhidbeyHealth reports that patients should anticipate being asked about travel history at check-in, especially if about Wuhan Province or anywhere in mainland China.

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