MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Researchers believe there could be hundreds of untested coronavirus cases in Washington

Mar 11, 2020, 8:01 AM

coronavirus test, coronavirus age...

Testing for coronavirus continues to be slow in the U.S. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Using data from outbreak screening and viral sequencing from the University of Washington’s virology lab, researchers have been able to determine that the state could have close to 1,100 cases of coronavirus, a large majority of which have yet to be tested for.

That comes with a “90% uncertainty interval between 210 and 2,800 infections,” given the difficulty of estimating the virus’ spread without more widespread testing in Washington.

“This points to a growing outbreak of (COVID-19) in the greater Seattle area,” warned Fred Hutchinson scientist Trevor Bedford. “If steps are not taken to increase social distancing as recommended by (King County Public Health) and (the Washington State Department of Health), I fully expect cases to keep climbing.”

As of Wednesday morning, there were more than 200 confirmed cases of coronavirus in at least eight counties, and 24 deaths in three counties.

Testing for coronavirus continues to be slow in Washington state, too. Even with testing restrictions supposedly being lifted recently, it remains limited to those with underlying conditions and only the most extreme symptoms.

“We still have limited capacity to run these tests right now,” the Washington State Department of Health admitted over the weekend. “Testing may become more readily available in the future, but, for now, if you have mild symptoms (cough, fever), you need to stay home.”

That’s despite advice from some health experts, who cite increased testing and contact tracing as one of the best ways to track and contain the illness.

“The key to stopping an epidemic is contact tracing, and finding those infected as soon as possible, not three or four weeks after the fact, like the first few cases [in Washington],” Dr. Eric Ding told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show last week.

MyNorthwest News

Renton bus crash...

Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Eight injured after bus crashes into Renton ravine

A bus driver suffered a medical emergency, crashing the bus into a ravine in Renton, injuring eight people on board.

3 hours ago

Photo: Police say a man reached for his chicken sandwich, flipping his car....

Bill Kaczaraba

Oops! Chicken sandwich causes car to flip in Vancouver, WA

It turned out to be a very bad day for a man who dropped his chicken sandwich in his car. He flipped his vehicle reaching for it.

4 hours ago

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 fatal shooting...

Associated Press

Case dismissed against Alec Baldwin in fatal shooting of cinematographer

A nearly three-year legal saga for Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer ended Friday with the actor cleared of wrongdoing.

4 hours ago

Photo: KIRO Newsradio is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its "newsradio" format with a special ...

MyNorthwest Staff

KIRO celebrates 50th anniversary of ‘newsradio’ format with special alumni broadcast

KIRO Newsradio is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its "newsradio" format with a special broadcast featuring several prominent alumni.

16 hours ago

Photo: Police swarm Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood after shooting on July 3....

James Lynch

Police identify 2 girls who were with alleged Alderwood Mall shooter

There are new developments in last week's deadly shooting at Alderwood Mall. Jayda Woods-Johnson, 13, was killed.

18 hours ago

Photo: A sea lion pup at the Point Defiance Zoo bonds with its mother....

Julia Dallas

Sea lion pup earns her name at local zoo; another animal expecting

Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium both have news! Two animals are experiencing motherhood for the first time.

19 hours ago

Researchers believe there could be hundreds of untested coronavirus cases in Washington