King County has the largest confirmed outbreak in the U.S.
King County has the largest confirmed outbreak in the United States. KH

The Washington State Department of Health has updated the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the number is rapidly rising. As of the morning of Thursday, March 5, there are 70 confirmed cases in Washington State, including 10 deaths. King County has 51 cases, Snohomish County has 18 cases, and Grant County has 1 case, which is the first confirmed case in Eastern Washington.

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"We need to accept medical reality right now—this disease is going to cross county lines," Governor Jay Inslee said at press conference on Thursday. "As this virus spreads, we just have to recognize that it’s a reality. That should not cause us to run panicking in the streets. It should cause us to redouble our efforts."

Thursday's number of confirmed cases is a significant jump from the 39 confirmed cases on Wednesday, but the actual number of people infected is likely much higher, considering that most people have mild symptoms and only a fraction of those experiencing symptoms are likely to get tested.

Public-health officials are urging anyone who may be sick to stay home, and if symptoms become severe or you have underlying health issues, to contact your health-care provider before seeking treatment. They have also urged all employers to cancel in-person meetings and make arrangements for employees who can work from home to do so in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

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