CORONAVIRUS: First King County cases

10:07 PM: Tonight health authorities announced two new presumed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our state, including the first one in King County. So it’s time for us to start reporting on it. First, here’s what’s new. From the Public Health/Seattle-King County announcement:

Today the Washington State Department of Health announced a positive test result for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a King County resident. The individual, a woman in her fifties, had recent travel to Daegu, South Korea. The resident is in home isolation and has mild illness.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is working to identify and contact those who may have come in contact with the confirmed case.

This is the first known case of novel coronavirus in King County.

Authorities did not say where in King County the patient lives. Also announced at tonight’s briefing, a new presumed case in Snohomish County, described as a juvenile patient whose school, Jackson High School in Everett, is closing for three days for cleaning. They don’t know how the teen was exposed to the virus.

The two cases announced tonight are the second and third in our state.

QUESTIONS? The state Health Department has set up “a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, please call 800-525-0127 and press #.

The state’s news release includes this advice:

How can you prevent the spread of COVID-19? Prevention starts with practicing good personal health habits:

-Wash your hands often with soap and water,
-Stay home when you’re sick,
-Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue,
-Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
-Getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, eating healthy foods, and managing your stress can help you prevent getting COVID-19 and recover from it if you do.

Authorities stress that so far, risk is low, and – as with the aforementioned King County case – most cases are mild. Common questions are answered hee; The main Public Health-Seattle/King County infopage about the coronavirus situation is here. Lots of info from the state Health Department can be found here.

P.S. We’re creating a new coverage category, so any coronavirus (COVID-19)-related story we publish will be findable here.

11:25 AM: More King County cases are being announced today, including a death (on the Eastside, according to The Times).

1:25 PM: From today’s news release (we’ll likely publish a daily update later):

Public Health – Seattle & King County, Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reporting today four presumptive positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including one person who died.

Two of the confirmed cases are associated with LifeCare nursing facility in Kirkland, King County, Washington:
– One is a health care worker from LifeCare. She is a woman in her 40s, is currently in satisfactory condition at Overlake Hospital, and she has no known travel outside the United States.

– The second case, a woman in her 70’s, is a resident at LifeCare and is in serious condition at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

In addition, over 50 individuals associated with LifeCare are reportedly ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia or other respiratory conditions of unknown cause and are being tested for COVID-19. Additional positive cases are expected.
The death occurred in a patient at EvergreenHealth Hospital but was not a resident of the long-term care facility.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is current working with LifeCare to provide care for ill patients while protecting uninfected patients. The CDC is sending a team of epidemiologists to King County to support our efforts to identify, isolate and test all of those who may be at risk because of these new cases.

19 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: First King County cases"

  • Tiffany February 28, 2020 (10:51 pm)

    I hope she makes a full recovery and starts feeling better soon!

  • BB February 29, 2020 (10:07 am)

    There is a press conference at 1 pm. 

    • WSB February 29, 2020 (10:58 am)

      Yup, just catching up with more new info this morning re: additional King County cases. Updates to come.

  • Matt P February 29, 2020 (11:14 am)

    First death in the US now here as well.

  • anonyme February 29, 2020 (1:29 pm)

    I’m really worried about those of us who must take Metro to survive.  I’ve always thought of the bus as a rolling Petrie dish, but that fact is even more concerning now.  If this is truly a state of emergency as the governor has declared, buses should be scrubbed down and sterilized daily.  It won’t prevent direct contact with an infected person, but would at least cut the risk of surface contamination.  I’m always shocked at how many people ride the bus sick without any concern for others, and speculated how quickly a pandemic could spread around here.  You can have all the guidelines you want, but it doesn’t mean a thing if people are too stupid to abide by them.

    • WSB February 29, 2020 (1:56 pm)

      That was addressed during the briefing and I will include it in the update – they’re cleaning and vacuuming buses daily, plus will pull any bus out of service for immediate recleaning if a cleanliness problem is reported. This was during County Executive Dow Constantine’s portion of the briefing.

    • Janelle February 29, 2020 (8:41 pm)

      I agree it’s a good point for people to consider the risks of taking transit and people coughing and sneezing in close quarters. Hopefully people will be more considerate to stay home and not take transit if they have symptoms resembling coronavirus. I’m personally going to opt for biking more when I can and take transit only when I have to, because this is a reasonable choice for me, I prefer my bike anyway, and the weather has been trending nicer lately too :)

  • Mj February 29, 2020 (2:15 pm)

    This is unnerving, but from what I have read its a bad flu.  Over sanitizing everything has weakened people’s immune systems.  Doctors, nurses teachers tend to have stronger immune systems because they are being constantly exposed to germs.

    • WSB February 29, 2020 (3:01 pm)

      Yes, but in this case, as one reply at the briefing went, since this is a NEW virus, and there is NO natural immunity, NO treatment, NO vaccine, trying to minimize its spread is common sense.

  • Mj February 29, 2020 (3:08 pm)

    No disagreement, the intent of my comment was that sanitizing everything has weakened peoples immune systems making warding off new viruses like corona more difficult.  

    • CAM March 2, 2020 (12:57 am)

      To the best of my knowledge that is not how the immune system works. I agree about the risks of overuse of sanitizers and antibacterial agents. In the case of a novel bacteria, anybody exposed to it would need to develop the antibodies from scratch. You aren’t going to have anything to rely upon. Certain strains of the flu or cold virus can prepare you to fight off others but this is different. Long story short, exposing yourself to germs in general will not prepare your immune system to fight off a novel virus or bacteria. 

  • zephyr February 29, 2020 (4:26 pm)

    On Thursday while driving across town, I heard an excellent interview with a science and health journalist on NPR–Donald McNeil, Jr.  He’s covered many other epidemics over the years and has a good perspective in my opinion.  The interviewer asks great questions and the responses are clear and understandable.  McNeil compares this virus with the 1918 influenza, SARS, and MERS.  They discuss the challenges in treatment and vaccine research.  I’ve been watching this thing for the past couple of months and appreciated this clear cut presentation of the facts and current situation.  They go into best and worst case scenarios.  The interviewer asks the journalist what he was doing personally to prepare.


    Highly recommend taking the 20 minutes or so to listen to this interview.  This is available also as an Apple podcast.  The first minute or so is a bit dramatic and there is an ad about halfway through.  You can stop at 20:38 or so.


    I hope this link works for you all.  .

  • Mj February 29, 2020 (5:40 pm)

    The person who sadly passed had underlining health issues.  

    • sam-c March 2, 2020 (5:58 am)

      I appreciate the news  outlets have mentioned that, but kinda wish they would share all of the information.  They typically stop there, due to ‘patient privacy.’   Like, I am wondering what severity of underlying health issues leads to death from coronavirus, mild asthma, COPD, lifetime smoker, simultaneously battling cancer….. ?  

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