The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. 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 #. Note: The DOH coronavirus hotline (1-800-525-0127, press #) is experiencing high traffic and may be temporarily unavailable.
What's the current risk?
- The general American public is unlikely to be exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 at this time, so the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
- The risk of exposure is increasing for people who live in communities in Washington state with reported spread of COVID-19, though risk is still relatively low.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Those who have had close contact with persons with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Our knowledge of COVID-19 is still rapidly evolving. The risk assessment will be updated as needed.
How is it spread?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- The air by coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- Rarely, fecal contamination with coronavirus present
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to flu or colds and may include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- A general feeling of being unwell
If you have traveled to/from Wuhan City, China, and have these symptoms, contact a health care provider.
How can people protect themselves?
There are steps people should take to reduce their risk of getting and spreading any viral respiratory infections. These include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?
We are not recommending that people wear masks when they are in public. Masks can be useful in some settings to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others. That’s why we recommend that people who are sick put a mask on if they are waiting in a clinic.
More information at the Washington State Department of Health
Here are some more links with updated information:
Current number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Washington: doh.wa.gov
Current number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the US and the world: cdc.gov
Coronavirus Fact Sheet: doh.wa.gov
Center for Disease Control: cdc.gov
Seattle & King County Public Health: kingcounty.gov
UW Health Page: washington.edu
WSU Health Page: wsu.edu
Map of local Health Departments in Washington: doh.wa.gov
Resources on K-12 Schools: doh.wa.gov