(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
King County man succumbs to the virus…
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency in response to new cases of COVID-19 in the state, directing Washington agencies to use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak. This comes after the first death from the virus has been recorded in the U.S. after a King County man in his 50s succumbed to it. Washington announced two more confirmed cases of the virus as well.
“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state. Our state agency directors have been actively preparing since the nation’s first case appeared in Snohomish County. Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic.”
Still the threat to the general public remains low as there are sparse number of cases in the United States. The virus caries a three percent fatality rate but that is skewed somewhat from the original providence in China where the virus first appeared. Global response and procedures has dropped that rate to one percent which makes it on par with a severe seasonal flu.
Inslee directed state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases. It also allows the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary. In January, the Washington Military Department activated the State Emergency Operations Center at a Level 1, the highest level, to help coordinate a statewide response.
The nation’s first case of COVID-19 was found in a Snohomish County man in January. He had traveled to Wuhan, China and has now recovered. On Feb. 28, the state Department of Health announced two additional cases – a King County woman who had recently traveled to South Korea, and a Snohomish County teenager with no travel history. Both are recovering at home and remain in home isolation.
The Department of Health also announced last week that the Public Health Lab in Shoreline now has the capability to test for cases of COVID-19, expediting results. Some coronavirus patients were also taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane as they had a ward set up to handle such a virus.
“This means our state can respond quickly and effectively,” Inslee said. “Our priority now is to slow the spread of this virus. Our health care professionals say the easiest way to do that is to practice good hygiene – wash your hands often, sanitize frequently touched surfaces and stay home when you’re sick. Preventing future cases will require the work of all of us.”
For the latest information on the COVID-19 situation, visit the Department of Health’s website. The Governor’s Office has also developed a partial list of resources to support economic retention and recovery related to COVID-19 coronavirus.
The global death toll is nearing 3,000 and 87,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed world wide. There are now 72 known cases of the virus in the United States.
Here is additional information on the coronavirus from the CDC.