Everett doctor details presence of coronavirus in Washington state

Jan 28, 2020, 11:34 AM | Updated: 5:16 pm

Wuhan virus...

Doctors are still trying to fully understand the spread of the mysterious Wuhan virus. (Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via AP)

(Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via AP)

A Washington state man in his 30s was diagnosed last week with the Wuhan virus, known in official medical circles as a coronavirus. One of five confirmed patients in the U.S., he remains in isolation at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.

3 students from UW screened for coronavirus

Dave Ross spoke with Dr. Jay Cook, Chief Medical Officer for the hospital, about the local risk.

The patient in Everett is in stable condition, Dr. Cook confirmed.

“The thing I think that concerns most people is that it’s a new virus,” Dr. Cook said. “It has not, until just very recently, been seen or described.”

The Wuhan virus is part of the coronavirus family, which includes the common cold, the flu, and SARS. This new virus affects the respiratory system.

“Because it’s new and because this has sort of escalated again over a relatively short period of time, I think just this amount of uncertainty is often what fuels fear,” Dr. Cook said.

Chinese health authorities now report that the number of confirmed cases has increased to 4,500, a jump of nearly 60 percent. At least 106 people have died.

Forty-three people in Washington state had close contact with the local patient before health officials diagnosed him.

Dr. Cook says Wuhan virus does not appear to be as contagious as a disease like the measles, but officials are working with limited information.

“We know that if someone walks through a room that has measles, it can be transmitted an hour or two later,” Dr. Cooks said. “So far, this virus does not seem to have that level of risk of infection.

China has quarantined the entire city of Wuhan, and recently extended that quarantine to neighboring towns. Hong Kong has enacted a limit on visitors from mainland China.

“Boy, isn’t that an extraordinary step?” Dr. Cook said. “I’m not aware of any effort that is even remotely of this magnitude to try to quarantine what I’ve read is up to 50 million people. It’s such an extraordinary challenge to do that.”

“It at least sends a signal to me that they believe that this is a serious problem, that they want to try to do what they can to limit its spread,” he added.

The World Health Organization chose not to diagnose the virus as a “global health emergency of international concern” when officials met last week, as the virus still remains mostly contained in China.

What to know about China’s Wuhan coronavirus

“The symptoms you really can’t tell from a common cold, at least early on,” Dr. Cook said. “Chances are, especially if you haven’t traveled to central China over the last couple of weeks, that what you have really is a cold or the flu.”

Because a specialized test for Wuhan virus must be sent to the Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, officials are not testing everyone who comes in.

“They’re certainly not recommending testing everyone that just has the sniffles or a sneeze or cough,” Dr. Cook said.

Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett has personnel from the CDC on hand to assist. Everett doctors are also communicating with the CDC’s virus specialist in Atlanta.

They don’t plan to release the patient anytime soon.

“Certainly we’re gonna err on the side of caution, because so little is known about this virus,” Dr. Cook said. “We want to make sure that we keep everyone safe, and when we decide that it’s safe for him to go home, we want to be very confident that the risk to anyone that he may come in contact with is extraordinarily low.”

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

trump milley speech...

Dave Ross

Ross: General Milley calls out Trump in retirement speech

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired last week after a 44-year career and gave a farewell speech that focused on the Constitution.

2 hours ago

republican debate...

Dave Ross

Ross: The highs and lows of the second 2024 Republican debate

As you’ve heard by now, there was considerable chaos during last night’s debate, including an argument between Tim Scott and Nikki Haley over the expensive curtains in her office.

4 days ago

baby plane...

Dave Ross

Ross: Planes are noisy, so are babies; what’s the big deal?

The issue of airborne babies keeps coming up, and as far as I can tell, the reason it keeps coming up is that reporters find themselves near a baby on a plane

5 days ago

retail theft...

Dave Ross

Ross: Seattle has a serious problem, not enough castles

I’m just back from a tour of Eastern Canada, and of course, when you visit other cities, you compare them with your own.

6 days ago

FILE - A view of the Shell oil company logo above a Shell fuel station in London, on May 5, 2022. S...

Dave Ross

Ross: How the gas tax could start paying you

A bill for the next legislative session that could rebate some of the revenue from the state’s carbon credit auctions to drivers

7 days ago

Dr. Bleich found you could discourage kids from buying soda if you post signs near the soda case sh...

Dave Ross

Ross: Study shows aging effects of sugar

My family informs me that no one wants to hear any more studies about sugar, because they've already heard enough.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Everett doctor details presence of coronavirus in Washington state