Virus Fears Prompt Seattle-Area High School to Cancel Classes

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(Bloomberg) -- A Seattle-area high school canceled classes on Thursday out of “an abundance of caution” about the coronavirus after an employee returned from international travel.

The Northshore School District informed parents of students at Bothell High School, located north of Seattle, late Wednesday that the school would close for the day.

The employee, who wasn’t identified by the district, had been traveling with a family member who started feeling sick on Tuesday, the Seattle Times reported. The employee hasn’t been tested for the coronavirus and is quarantined at home. Classes were set to resume on Friday, the newspaper reported. The school district didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

In a statement posted to its website, Public Health -- Seattle & King County said closing schools in cases where there hasn’t been a confirmed case is not recommended. The local health authority said there were no confirmed cases of the virus known as Covid-19 being transmitted in Washington state, which was the site of the first confirmed case in the U.S. That person, who lives in Snohomish County, north of Seattle, is recovering.

U.S. health authorities on Thursday moved to greatly expand the number of people who will be tested for the coronavirus, adding travelers from several new countries with outbreaks as well as people with unexplained, severe respiratory illnesses. Late Wednesday, the World Health Organization said for the first time that more cases were reported in countries other than China in the previous 24 hours, a significant development as new cases spread around the globe.

Globally, more than 82,400 people have been diagnosed with the virus and 2,809 have died.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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