International students remain in quarantine in King County hotel after measles exposure

RENTON, Wash. — A group of over a dozen international students from Africa are in quarantine in a King County hotel after they were exposed to measles.

As of Friday, according to several host families for the students, they have been in quarantine since April 10th. None of the students have tested positive for measles nor shown any symptoms since their exposure.

The organization that has brought the students to the United States tells KIRO 7 they are collaborating with the Department of Public Health on all precautions to ensure the health and safety of the kids and community.

However, where these students are quarantined isn’t ideal according to several host families that have reached out to KIRO 7 about this.

“I’m appalled that in the US, we are doing that to these kids,” One of the host families told KIRO 7.

Some of the complaints we’ve heard have ranged from dirty beds to doors that have broken locks. They also claim there is no running AC or clean refrigerators inside any of the rooms.

“They’re treating these kids so poorly in there. It truly brings me to tears,” One parent said.

One host family claims some students have run out of clean clothes, so they’ve had to get new clothes sent to them.

“And the relief on their faces when they receive clean underwear. It…it is heartbreaking,” one parent said.

Host families also believe these students have been in quarantine long enough and should be able leave.

“None of these kids have shown any symptoms. They have not been exposed in over a week. Almost two weeks now. We’re good. We would gladly welcome them into our home as many as we can take,” one parent said.

When KIRO 7 went to the hotel where these kids are staying, one guest came to our crew and said their truck was broken into and had thousands of dollars worth of tools stolen.

“Somebody snuck in behind my truck over here, parked by the dumpster and smashed my glass out. Took all my tools. About two grand worth of tools,” the guest told KIRO 7.

He also says it’s going to cost $900 to fix his back window. Because of it, he now takes his tools inside his room.

“Sad to say I went and bought half of my tools back. And I’ve been taking them to my room every night. Maybe nobody will steal from me anymore,” he said.

As these students remain in quarantine, some host families feel this situation could’ve been handled in a different way.

“I also know that it is complicated. So, I can respect what people are trying to do, it’s just not enough,” One parent said.

According to one of the organizers of the non-profit in charge of the students, their quarantine should be ending within the next 9 days.

The King County Department of Health sent this information on the situation:

CDC guidance is 21 days from exposure. Anytime that there’s potential for measles exposures, we act quickly to help prevent the spread. This is critically important because measles is a serious disease and is very contagious.

We are very sorry the visitors’ plans have been disrupted and appreciate their help and cooperation in preventing the potential spread of disease.

We are following CDC guidelines for infection control of measles to minimize the risk of spread to others and to prevent a measles outbreak. Their guidance includes specific requirements for facilities that can be used for highly contagious diseases like measles. We continue to actively work to provide the best available options for their stay while they are here. To protect the privacy of the individuals, we aren’t sharing any location information of where the travelers are located.

To prevent outbreaks, we make sure that facilities meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for infection control, including for ventilation, which is especially important for highly contagious airborne diseases like measles. Within those guidelines, we work to provide the best available options for them.