SPOKANE, Wash. -- At least five patients who have tested positive for the new virus that caused an outbreak China will be treated at a hospital in Spokane.
The Spokesman-Review reported that state and local health officials did not immediately know where the patients with the COVID-19 virus were coming from. They will be treated at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked Sacred Heart to treat five virus patients because the hospital is equipped with airborne infection isolation rooms. The patients would be likely be transferred by Friday evening.
“We want to reiterate that the risk to the public from COVID-19 remains low,” the Washington State Department of Health said in a statement. “Sacred Heart’s Special Pathogens Unit is specially equipped to treat patients with infectious diseases as well.”
Officials are making plans “to safely transport these patients to Sacred Heart,” Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer with the Spokane Regional Health District, said in the statement.
The first reported case of the virus in the U.S. was a Washington state resident who had returned from the outbreak’s epicenter in the Chinese city of Wuhan and was hospitalized near Seattle. He left the hospital after undergoing treatment.