As wildfires rage across the entire west coast, a giant wave of smoke has blown across Western Washington, creating worsening air quality that will likely linger for days. The air quality across Washington has the potential to reach extremely unhealthy levels, and the Washington State Department of Health wants people to be prepared. It’s not just the smoke, either: with COVID-19 as an ongoing factor, people need to know how to stay safe from smoke and fire while preventing the spread of disease.
To keep up-to-date on air quality, visit the Washington Smoke blog, a partnership between state, county, and federal agencies, and Indian Tribes.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 100,000 Washington residents have enrolled in Apple Health (Medicaid), our state’s insurance program for individuals with lower incomes. About 1.9 million Washington residents are now enrolled in the program, which offers comprehensive physical and behavioral health care coverage.
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), Snohomish Health District and Public Health—Seattle & King County are confirming two cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. The patients, one Snohomish County resident and one King County resident, both received treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital. One patient is under the age of 10 and the other is between 10 and 19 years of age.
These are the only cases reported in Washington state residents to date. Health care providers in the United Kingdom were the first to recognize cases in late April, and providers in other states have identified cases as well. Following increased reports of previously healthy children presenting with a severe inflammatory syndrome with Kawasaki disease-like symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory last Thursday with a case definition.
“In Washington, we are tracking this issue closely and working with local health departments and providers to learn more,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer for DOH. “Early last week we asked all health care providers in the state to be on the lookout and immediately report possible cases to local health authorities.”
The current case definition includes the following:
“Seattle Children’s is committed to caring for our region’s most medically complex children, and our team of specialists is well-equipped to care for children presenting with this newly identified syndrome,” said Dr. John McGuire, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Seattle Children’s. “Although it remains very uncommon, parents should call their primary care providers if their children are showing new or unusual symptoms, such as a persistent fever or headache, abdominal pain with or without diarrhea, fatigue, and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath.”
“Parents who have concerns about possible COVID-19 in their children should contact their healthcare provider promptly,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Identifying this syndrome early is important because treatments are available for the serious complications.”
“While the vast majority of children appear to have mild or asymptomatic infection, it’s important to remember that—although rare—some children can develop serious complications like these,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “Our thoughts are with the young patient, their family and the care team at Seattle Children’s, and we wish for a speedy recovery.”
Given privacy concerns, public health officials will not release additional information on these cases.
Healthcare providers who have cared or are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should report suspected cases to their local public health agency. Additional guidance for pediatric healthcare providers was issued by CDC on May 15.
For more information on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health’s website or call 1-800-525-0127. More information on MIS-C and COVID-19 is also available from Seattle Children’s Hospital, Snohomish County Health District , Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
OLYMPIA — March 12, 2020 — Our state is experiencing a rapidly expanding outbreak of a novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which has already led to many school closures.
Visit the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for more information.
WASHINGTON — Racing to confront a growing public health threat, the House resoundingly approved $8.3 billion in emergency aid on Wednesday to combat the novel coronavirus, hours after congressional leaders reached a deal on the funding.
Read the full article from the New York Times.
It has been nearly three months since the first cases of a new coronavirus pneumonia appeared in Wuhan, China, and it is now a global outbreak. And yet, despite nearly 90,000 infections worldwide (most of them in China), the world still doesn’t have a clear picture of some basic information about this outbreak.
Read the full article from Kaiser Health News.
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