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Washington lawmakers propose budget increase to combat coronavirus

Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington state epidemiologist for communicable disease, speaks during a press conference about the first confirmed U.S. case of a virus known as the 2019 novel coronavirus at the state Public Health Laboratories on January 21, 2020 in Shoreline, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

There’s “no need to panic” about coronavirus, and the risk to the general public remains low at this time, the Washington State Department of Health said on Thursday. However, officials have encouraged Washington residents to be prepared and start making plans in the case of school closures, remote work, and caring for family members.

State officials and governments across the United States are among the groups preparing for a possible outbreak, including here in Washington.

Thurston County site prepared for possible coronavirus quarantine

To ensure there is enough money to address the threat of coronavirus, Washington state lawmakers have proposed an increased budget to combat any potential outbreak.

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott reports that the House raised its budget proposal Thursday.

Senate leaders approved the initial budget proposal, and the House added another $5 million to the proposal Thursday to help Washington state health officials deal with the threat.

Senate leaders have included a total of $13 million for the virus in their proposal, leaving room to add more if needed, after the session ends. Washington lawmakers also hope to receive some matching dollars from the federal government.

Washington state has had only one confirmed case, and the patient is fully recovered. There are seven pending test results.

Bothell High School closed again Friday due to coronavirus concerns

Bothell High School was closed Thursday and Friday after a staff member reported that a family member who had traveled with them fell ill. It has seen been reported that the family member of the Bothell HS staff member tested negative.

Three staff members in the Shoreline School District have been voluntarily quarantined after traveling or being connected to someone who traveled abroad in recent weeks. None are showing symptoms, and there is no confirmation that they’ve been exposed to the virus.

Starting Friday, the state will have an expanded ability to test patients who may have been exposed to the virus or who are showing respiratory symptoms. Officials no longer have to send results out of state.

Find updated information about the coronavirus in Washington on the DOH’s website here.

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