Risk Still Low for Corona Virus on Whidbey Island

UPDATED FEB. 28, 2020 - The risk of CoVid-19 is still extremely low on Whidbey Island. There are no known cases of the virus in our area and no one is being observed or in isolation as such.The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public on the Corona Virus. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.The risk for catching the influenza virus is much greater; washing your hands often is the best defense against any virus.

UPDATE FROM ISLAND COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH Feb. 7, 2020: 

  • There are currently no Island County residents under investigation for possible 2019-nCoV illness. One person has tested negative.
  • Nationwide, 11 cases of 2019-nCoV have been reported, including the Snohomish County case (plus California [6], Illinois [2], Arizona, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin). The second case in Illinois was acquired locally from the first case there.
  • As of February 5, 28,000 cases have been counted worldwide, with the vast majority in mainland China (especially but not limited to Wuhan, Hubei Province). Smaller numbers of cases (about 250 total) have been reported from east and Southeast Asia (the hardest hit non-China region), Europe, North America, the Arabian Peninsula, and south Asia. 565 deaths have been reported.
  • As the epidemic spreads to involve most of mainland China:
    • airport screening has been expanded to all returning travelers from China, includes SeaTac Airport, and imposes a 14-day quarantine for all who are asymptomatic and have been in China during the past 14 days; and
    • the criteria for suspecting 2019-nCoV have been expanded to add patients hospitalized for a febrile respiratory illness who in the preceding 14 days were in China (even though not in Wuhan).

The information regarding Corona Virus (2019-nCoV) is unfolding rapidly, and our plan is to remain vigilant. We continue to actively take precautions regarding the 2019-nCoV in order to keep our community safe and healthy.

Our plan includes keeping you updated with most current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please follow all guidelines regarding any visits to WhidbeyHealth Medical Center and clinics, including:

·       Calling first if you have recently traveled out of the country and are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or trouble breathing within 14-days of returning.

·       Calling first if in the last 14 days before symptom onset you had close contact with a person who is under investigation for the 2019-nCoV, while that person was ill.

·     Anticipate being asked about your travel history at check-in, especially if you have been to Wuhan Province or anywhere in mainland China.

It is likely there will be more cases reported in the U.S. in the coming days and weeks. CDC will continue to update the public as circumstances warrant.  While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, there are simple daily precautions that everyone should always take.  It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and CDC recommends getting vaccinated for the flu, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

The CDC recommends calling the Council Of State And Territorial Epidemiologists Infectious Disease (CSTE) hotline for outbreak-related questions at (206) 418-5500.