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Deschutes health official: No need to worry about new coronavirus, yet

First U.S. case of Chinese Wuhan coronavirus reported in Washington state

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A new Chinese virus that has been linked to six deaths in that country has made its way to the United States.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday a Washington state man had contracted the coronavirus while traveling through Wuhan, China, where the virus originated.

The man, who was not identified, traveled through the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ,which prompted the CDC to begin screenings for the virus at more airports.

Morgan Emerson of Deschutes County Health Services said Tuesday it’s too early to tell if this area could be affected.

“At this time, we don’t have any information that would lead us to believe that there is any novel coronavirus in the area,” Emerson said. “So our role right now is to just make sure our health care providers know what to look for.”

They are being asked to watch for travelers who have recently been in Asia, as the virus has spread to Japan, Thailand and South Korea.  Symptoms of the virus are similar to those of the flu: cough, fever, headache and sore throat.

Medical officials are reporting the virus can be spread in the air through a cough or physical contact, like shaking hands.

The man who contracted the virus had traveled through Sea-Tac, which has direct flights to and from Redmond Airport. NewsChannel 21 spoke with a couple of travelers, to see if they had any concerns.

“Somehow, I feel safe here,” Bend resident Karla Proud said. “There’s so many fewer people going through Redmond’s airport. Unless it really took off, it doesn’t concern me.”

Naomi Jacks of Madras said, “I would certainly be concerned, and I am a praying person So I would put prayers out there for people’s safety.”

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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