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King County health officials monitoring 5th person for possible coronavirus

The King County health department is actively testing five people for possible 2019 novel coronavirus.

SEATTLE — A person was admitted to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon for "possible coronavirus or other respiratory illnesses." The patient is said to be in satisfactory condition and appropriate isolation. 

Another patient was admitted to a Seattle hospital on Tuesday for possible coronavirus. This patient is also in satisfactory condition and appropriate isolation at UW Medical Center - Northwest in North Seattle, according to hospital officials. 

The patient is being tested as a precaution and public health authorities believe "it's unlikely that the test will come back positive."

Several other possible cases of coronavirus were tested in King County, but results came back negative. 

There are currently five patients still awaiting test results in western Washington. 

Dr. Jeff Duchin of Public Health — Seattle & King County told the King County Council on Monday, "I do not have a high level of suspicion that those people will test positive.” 

Three University of Washington (UW) students who recently traveled to China were screened for the 2019 novel coronavirus. The UW said the students attend class at the university’s Seattle campus.

The students developed symptoms after recently traveling to Wuhan, China, the city at the center of the outbreak.

Results came back negative for two of the three students. 

Test results are still pending for a third student who lived on campus. That student was moved to isolated housing while awaiting test results. 

RELATED: Health officials monitoring 64 people with contact to Snohomish County man with coronavirus

The UW said it is working closely with Public Health – Seattle & King County “to ensure precautions are taken to minimize risk to the campus and others in the community.” Officials said these are not confirmed cases and testing was a precautionary measure.

None of the students tested were hospitalized and were said to be “doing very well.”

“We are asking everyone — and, importantly, students in communal living situations, including on-campus housing, fraternities, and sororities — to take steps we always recommended to protect yourself and others, and to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, especially during cold and flu season,” the UW said in a press release.

The first U.S. case of coronavirus was reported last week in a Snohomish County man. The man in his 30s returned to the U.S. from Wuhan on Jan. 15, traveling through Sea-Tac International Airport.

Eight people statewide are currently "persons under investigation," meaning it's a person who is sick with possible coronavirus infection who is in the process of being tested. 

RELATED: US confirms 5 cases of Wuhan coronavirus, 110 people 'under investigation'

The Washington State Department of Health was monitoring at least 67 people in Washington state Wednesday morning who had close contact with the Snohomish County man with coronavirus.

The department of health defined close contact as "a person who has been within about 6 feet of a person with confirmed novel coronavirus infection for a prolonged period of time (more than 10 minutes) or has had direct contact with secretions from a person with confirmed novel coronavirus infection."

Symptoms of the illness include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC. The Chinese government confirmed human-to-human transmission is occurring with the new coronavirus.

The CDC expanded public health entry screenings from five to 20 U.S. airports this week. Sea-Tac International Airport is one of the new locations passengers returning from China will be screened for the virus. 

The CDC said the airport screenings are part of an effort to better detect and prevent the virus from the same family of bugs that caused an international outbreak of SARS and MERS that began in 2002 and 2012.

The CDC said anyone traveling to Wuhan should avoid animals, animal markets, and products that come from animals like uncooked meat. Travelers should also avoid contact with sick people and frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Anyone who recently traveled to Wuhan and is showing symptoms of  2019-nCoV should stay at home and avoid any contact with other people unless seeking medical attention, the CDC said. Anyone showing symptoms seeking medical care should call the doctor's office or emergency room before arriving and tell them about your symptoms and recent travel.

The CDC said it believes the risk of the Wuhan coronavirus to the American public at large remains low.

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