Human Coronavirus

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

The COVID-19 is formally known as the Novel Coronavirus. The Department of Health has a call center to answer questions about the virus. Call (800) 525-0127 and press #. Visit their website to see information for school nurses and administrators, employers, and track the investigation.

What are coronaviruses?

Human coronaviruses are form a large family of viral illnesses that includes the common cold. If you’ve ever been sick with a runny nose, cough or sore throat, you likely had a form of coronavirus. 

A few less-common strains of coronavirus—like Middle East Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)—can become more serious. These make some people very sick and can even be fatal.

Coronaviruses vary greatly in severity and in how they transmit. For more information, visit the CDC website.

Find more information about common coronaviruses vs COVID-19 here.

For up to date Yakima Health District information, please go to our Health Advisories and Alerts page where you will find out media releases. 

Am I at risk?

Your risk and the risk of your family of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus is low. Yakima County has no cases of novel coronavirus. Currently, there is no person-to person disease transmission in Washington. 

Risk Level

Low or no risk

  • No travel to mainland China in last 14 days.            
  • No travel to Hubei Province, China in last 14 days.  
  • No close contact with person who has laboratory confirmed coronavirus.

  • No action needed.
Medium Risk

  • Traveled to mainland China in the last 14 days and have no symptoms. 

  • Stay home for self-monitoring* for up to 14 days.
High Risk

  • Traveled to Hubei Province, China in the last 14 days.
  • Had close contact* with person who has laboratory confirmed novel coronavirus.

  • Stay home or in quarantine* for active monitoring* for up to 14 days.


Close contactA person who has been within 6 feet of someone with confirmed novel coronavirus for 10 minutes or more.

Self-monitoring: A person monitors themselves for symptoms, including fever, and reports any symptoms to their local public health department. Public health checks in periodically during the monitoring period.

Active-monitoring: The local public health department contacts a person daily to monitor for symptoms, including fever, throughout the monitoring period. 

Quarantine: The separation of a person possibly exposed to a disease but not yet sick to prevent the potential spread of disease to others. Quarantine is different from isolation—used to separate a currently ill person who can spread the disease to others.

If you visited Wuhan in the last 14 days, contact your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms:

  •  A fever.  
  • A cough.  
  • Shortness of breath.

How can I protect myself?

You can protect your health and the health of your family:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  
  • 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. 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 sick.

Get a flu shot. It’s cold and flu season. These more common respiratory illnesses have affected our communities—especially the flu. The flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. It’s not too late to get your flu shot. 

Click here for more information about WA state flu activity and additional flu resources

 You may wonder if you should wear a mask when you’re in public to protect yourself. We don’t recommend it. The health risk to the general public in Washington is low. Wearing masks in public is probably not effective. However, if you’re sick, we recommend you wear a mask so you don’t expose others—especially while waiting in a clinic or emergency department.


We continue to work with our partners to get the most up-to-date information. 

Centers for Disease Control
Washington State Department of Health

*This page was adapted from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department