Editor’s note: This story, originally published on Jan. 26, was updated Jan. 29 to reflect test results for the second of the three UW students. It was updated again Jan. 30 to reflect test results for the remaining student, as well as the total number of cases in the U.S.

Ask here or in the comments on this story and we’ll dig for answers.


The University of Washington notified students Sunday evening that three students who recently traveled to Wuhan, China, were screened for the new coronavirus that originated there. By mid-morning Friday, all three had tested negative.

The virus has infected thousands of people and killed more than 100 in China since being discovered last month. Six cases have been confirmed in the United States this month, including a man in Snohomish County.

Like the Snohomish County patient, who is now being monitored in an isolation unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, the three UW students developed symptoms after returning home from Wuhan. None needed to be hospitalized, and “all are doing very well,” according to the email sent by the university on Sunday.

One student, who lives off campus, had tested negative by the time the notification went out.

The other two students live on campus but, while they awaited test results, they were moved to isolated housing and told to monitor their temperatures and communicate daily with public health officials by phone. The university did not say which dormitory those students lived in, opting instead to notify their roommates directly. One of the students tested negative on Tuesday; results for the other student came back negative on Friday.

Public Health “anticipates most persons tested will not have the infection,” according to the university’s email.

The students traveled to China in mid-to-late December, according to a statement from the health agency.

In its notification, the university reminded students — especially those in communal housing — to take precautions to prevent spreading illnesses, similar to steps people should always take during flu season:

  • Stay home when you are sick to prevent others from being exposed to your illness.
  • If you see a health-care provider for fever and cough, ask for a surgical mask to help prevent spread of infection when in the health care setting.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

More on the COVID-19 pandemic

Staff reporters Evan Bush and Ryan Blethen contributed to this story.