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Virus hit Snohomish County, WA earlier than previously believed

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This computer screen shows some of the work on COVID-19 antibody testing. The Seattle Times reports that such testing on two women in Snohomish County indicates they recovered from the virus in December 2019, not January 2020, which was the previously known first case in both Washington and the United States. (photo: KOMO News)

An antibody test for a Snohomish County woman shows the COVID-19 infection arrived in Washington--and the United States--in December, not January as was previously believed.

The Seattle Times published the testing results of the retired 64-year-old nurse who tested positive for COVID-19 anti-bodies. It's forcing health experts to rethink how the virus first reached North America.

The first reported case originally cropped up in late January--also in Snohomish County--the victim, a man in his 30s, who had traveled solo through Wuhan, China where the virus first emerged.

The new report indicates the woman had the virus and recovered from it in late December. Antibodies also show a second Snohomish County patient may have had the virus in December, according to the Seattle Times.

Neither of the earlier cases had traveled to China. This is now contradicting prior theories about how and when the virus arrived in the U.S. We expect to learn more about the new anti-body test results at a briefing with Snohomish County health officials later today.

To hear the KOMO Newsradio report on this story, click the image above.

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