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Bloomsday could be canceled if coronavirus becomes epidemic or pandemic

For now, Bloomsday race organizers say they are proceeding as normal and communicating with local health leaders.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington state leaders are asking people to consider avoiding large crowds amid an outbreak of COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, in the state.

“We think folks should begin to think about avoiding large events and assemblies,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said during a press conference on Monday.

Six people have died and a total of 18 people in King and Snohomish Counties have tested positive for COVID-19. A member of the Gonzaga community in Spokane is still awaiting test results, along with another resident in Grant County, Washington.

While the state has not banned or canceled large events, leaders say people should be prepared for that possibility.

With the 44th annual Lilac Bloomsday Run just two months away, some people may be wondering if coronavirus concerns could cancel one of Spokane’s most popular events.

For now, race organizers say they are proceeding as normal. They added that they have already contacted local health leaders, which is something they always do for an event as large as Bloomsday.

RELATED: What you need to know about Bloomsday 2020

Race organizers say they are keeping a close eye on coronavirus cases in our area. If the outbreak reaches the point of an epidemic or pandemic, they say it’s possible the race would be canceled.

According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.

While an outbreak is the sudden rise in cases of a disease in a particular place, an epidemic refers to a large outbreak that spreads among a region or population.

RELATED: Facts Not Fear | What you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak

WHO and the Centers for Disease Control have classified the outbreak of COVID-19 in China as an epidemic.

While there are cases of COVID-19 in many countries outside of China, WHO has not yet categorized it as a global pandemic.

What are coronavirus symptoms?

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or colds. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

The severity of symptoms ranges significantly. Some cases are very mild with symptoms similar to the common cold, and some cases are more like severe pneumonia that require hospitalization. Most deaths have been reported in older adults who had other health conditions, according to DOH.

Symptoms may appear as soon as two days after being exposed to the coronavirus or as long as 14 days.

A new Washington call center has been set up to answer your questions about COVID-19. If you have questions about how the virus spreads, what is being done in Washington state, and what you can do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

RELATED: Gonzaga community member being tested for possible coronavirus

RELATED: What are coronavirus symptoms?

Watch more of what you need to know about coronavirus in Washington state on KREM's YouTube page  

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