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Edmonds School District Partners with the Snohomish Health District to Combat Coronavirus

By Erin Freeman | Last updated: March 3, 2020

After the first recorded coronavirus patient recovered in Snohomish County, the Edmonds School District is working to prevent another local outbreak.

A Snohomish County man, who was the first person in the U.S. diagnosed with coronavirus, has fully recovered and been released from self-isolation.

The Snohomish Health District released the following statement on Friday, February 21.

“In consultation with state and federal public health authorities, the Snohomish Health District has released the patient from home isolation. He is now considered fully recovered and free to go about his regular activities. We cannot thank him enough for his patience and cooperation throughout the entire process.”

The unidentified man in his 30s sought treatment at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett on January 15 after traveling to Wuhan, China. He was diagnosed on January 21, and admitted into home isolation on February 3, according to a statement from the hospital.

There was no evidence that he transmitted the virus to anyone else, said the health district.

Novel Coronavirus 2019, dubbed COVID-19, originated in Wuhan, China and is a newly discovered respiratory tract infection with similar symptoms to other types of coronavirus such as the common cold and influenza. The degree of contagiousness remains unknown according to the Snohomish Health District.

The local representative of the 32nd Legislative District, Cindy Ryu, released the following statement on February 19, commenting that COVID-19 has not been identified as an immediate concern in Washington State.

“For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus, the immediate health risk of COVID-19 is considered low.”

While the risk to the American public is believed to be small, the Snohomish Health District reports that it is regarding the virus as a potentially serious public health threat. The Health District, Washington State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and community partners are working together to act with precaution towards COVID-19. A message from the Edmonds School District’s superintendent, Dr. Kristine McDuffy, went out to families and staff Thursday, evening announcing their conventions moving forward.

“We want you to know we are working diligently with the Snohomish Health District to track COVID-19 carefully and making plans should it present a more significant threat to the health of our community,” McDuffy said.

Believed to spread through little droplets of fluid from lungs, the Edmonds School District and the Snohomish Health District are asking people to support the school’s efforts to lower the risk of a regional COVID-19 outbreak through the following preventative measures:

• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
• People who are sick should stay at home away from others.
• Circumvent close contact with others who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect “high-touch” objects and surfaces.
• Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.

“We know that people are concerned about this situation. We share your concerns and want you to know that the Edmonds School district and Snohomish Health District continue to focus on preparing,” said McDuffy. “Now is the time for our staff, families and community members to begin preparing as well.”

A presumed COVID-19 case was revealed during a press conference by the State Department of Health on Friday, February 28th. The Jackson high school student in Snohomish County is reported to be isolated at home.

Jackson High School in Mill Creek is undergoing its third day of deep cleaning, along with 11 other schools closed in Western Washington on March 2. In Snohomish County, Bothell’s Frank Love Elementary School closed after a staff member displayed symptoms. Cedar Park Christian School also reported closed.

Two schools in the Mukilteo School District also closed for disinfection Monday, March 2, after a parent of a Mariner High School student tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday, March 1, the district announced. The student had also recently visited Discovery Elementary. The student has not shown any signs of infection but will self-isolate for two weeks.

All schools in the Edmonds School District remain open as of March 2. 

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Saturday, February 29 after the first coronavirus related death in the U.S. was reported in King County. The state of emergency will authorize state agencies to use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to further spread of the virus, including the Washington National Guard.

Eight more related deaths have since been reported across King County and Snohomish County, according to public health officials. The Snohomish Health District was notified of Snohomish County’s latest COVID-19 case Sunday, March 1. The man’s death was announced by spokeswoman Heather Thomas Monday, March 2. 

Sunday’s announcement increased the total number of COVID-19 reported cases in Snohomish County to four.

Snohomish County executive, Dave Somers, responded to COVID-19’s impact and risk within the community Monday evening, March 2.

“Since the first case in the US was identified, Snohomish County has been working with our partners, including the Snohomish Health District, to provide all necessary support. I want to stress that, according to health professionals, the threat to the general public remains low. We understand that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing concern and anxiety in our community. It is impacting individuals and organizations, including schools, medical institutions, and first responders,” states Somers. “Therefore, as soon as we can coordinate with our partners, I intend to sign a declaration of emergency. I am taking this step to ensure we are nimble and can respond should the progression of the disease have more widespread impacts.”

To read more about the actions the Snohomish Health District is taking, visit www.snohd.org/ncov2019.

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