Coronavirus Information Update, February 28, 2020
On February 3, 2020, we provided facts and information about the coronavirus to our staff and families. Since then, we’ve continued to monitor this health issue closely and follow guidelines from the Washington State Health Department.
We are committed to keeping you informed about the latest information about the coronavirus.
According to Public Health – Seattle & King County, the immediate risk to the general public is considered to be low. At this time, the virus is not spreading in our community. U.S. public health officials are tracking coronavirus carefully and making plans should it present a more significant threat to our community.
As mentioned, we are monitoring the situation closely. Should conditions change, we will respond as directed by state and federal agencies.
For now, familiarize with the facts and information as provided by Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Please reference the information below.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They usually cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Some coronaviruses have caused more severe illness, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Since 2019 novel coronavirus is new, we are still learning about the way it spreads, how effectively it spreads, and how severe it is.
Who is at risk for novel coronavirus?
At this time, the general public in Washington is not considered at risk for novel coronavirus. A person is only at increased risk if they:
a) traveled to China in the past 14 days or
b) had close contact with someone with a lab-confirmed novel coronavirus infection.
Being at risk for coronavirus does not mean a person has a coronavirus infection. It simply means they are being asked to monitor their health and stay at home for 14 days.
People are NOT at risk because of their race, nationality, or ethnicity. People also are not considered at risk if they live or spend time with someone who recently traveled to China and doesn’t have symptoms.
What can I do as prevention?
Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus:
• wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
• avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
• avoid contact with people who are sick
• stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others
• cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
Should my family wear face masks?
At this time, health officials are not recommending that people wear masks in public to protect themselves from coronavirus. That’s because the risk in Washington is considered to be low. Also, face masks may not protect healthy people from getting sick. However, people may choose to wear masks for a variety of purposes, including to avoid air pollution and for cultural and social reasons. We should not assume someone is sick simply because they are wearing a mask.
Can my family continue with our normal activities?
Yes! As long as you are not ill, we encourage you and your children to attend school, work, and all extracurricular activities. We also encourage you to eat at restaurants, shop at local businesses, socialize with friends, and participate in community events without restriction.
My son’s classmate lives with a person who recently traveled to China. Should I be worried that my child is at risk for infection?
No. Your son’s classmate is not considered at risk for novel coronavirus, and neither is your son. That’s because people who are in contact with non-ill recent travelers to China are not at elevated risk.
Please bear in mind that although novel coronavirus started in China, having Chinese ancestry – or any other ancestry – does not place a person at higher risk for this illness. You can help keep our schools safe for everyone by sharing accurate information with your children and fellow community members.
It’s important not to make assumptions about the health of your fellow community members. Our local and state health departments are working together to identify, monitor, test, and when necessary, isolate people at risk for coronavirus.
Where can I find more information about coronavirus?
· 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (Public Health Seattle & King County - this site includes fact sheets in multiple languages)
· Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (Washington State Department of Health)
· Guidance for Travelers (CDC)
· Coronavirus (World Health Organization)
· Washington State Department of Health novel coronavirus call center: 1-800-525-0127 and press #