16 people identified as close contacts of coronavirus patient
Health officials in Washington state have worked together with a Snohomish County man with the Wuhan coronavirus to determine who he may have come into contact with during his travel from China to Seattle.
“As of now, there are at least 16 identified close contacts,” Dr. Spitters with the Snohomish County Health Department said during a news conference on Wednesday. “Local health departments started reaching out to them yesterday (Tuesday) and continue to do so today.”
Spitters added that the risk to the general public remains low. Health officials said they will not release the locations that the patient may have visited unless they’re not able to identify people with whom he has come into contact with.
The Snohomish County Health Department enacted a call center for people with questions about coronavirus: 425-388-5088 staffed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jay Cook, Chief of Surgery at Providence Medical Center in Everett, said the patient had a great night of sleep, according to attending nurses, and he appears to be doing well. Cook commended the nursing staff, all volunteering to care for the patient in an isolated unit at the hospital.
John Wiesman, Secretary of Health for Washington state, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the number of close contacts grows from 16. He is not aware of those ‘close contacts’ showing any symptoms of coronavirus.
“We’re not asking them to isolate unless they have symptoms,” Wiesman said.
Wiesman explained that they believe coronavirus is transmitted from person to person by droplets.
“That’s very, very different than measles,” he said.
Wiesman explained that if someone in the room had measles, you could walk through it two hours later and possibly get measles. Therefore, the response from health officials is different.
Doctors said on Wednesday they’re hopeful the patient will continue to improve and be released soon to return home.