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COVID-19 UPDATE

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Update on Jefferson County COVID-19 Case Count

March 21, 2020
Thomas Locke, MD, MPH Jefferson County Health Officer
Case Count Update:
615 Sheridan Street Port Townsend, WA 98368 www.JeffersonCountyPublicHealth.org

Two additional positive cases of COVID-19 infection have been confirmed in Jefferson County residents. Both cases are female, one in her 70’s and another in her 20’s. One case appears to have had significant out-of-county exposures, the other more likely had an exposure to the coronavirus infection within Jefferson County. Significantly, a number of Jefferson County residents have been exposed to these confirmed cases and have been placed in 14-day quarantine.

Tests results on these new confirmed cases took over 1 week to be processed by the testing labs, reflecting the ongoing problems with timely access to testing results. In addition to extreme testing delays, we continue to see shortages of specimen collection supplies. Jefferson Healthcare has set up testing sites for community members who are ill and meet the priority criteria for testing. Detailed guidelines for testing are available on the Jefferson Healthcare website. All community members considering testing should call the Nurse Hotline to see if testing is advisable. Under no circumstances should community members who are NOT ill seek testing. Those with mild illness are advised to stay home and recover consistent with statewide recommendations.

It is important for Jefferson County residents to realize that in-county transmission of coronavirus is increasing. We will almost certainly see new cases in the days ahead. Jefferson County Public Health will continue its core mission of investigating cases, identifying contacts, and recommending appropriate isolation and quarantine measures. It is also vitally important that Jefferson County residents heed Governor Inslee’s orders banning public gatherings, enforcing social distancing, and strongly recommending individuals at high risk for COVID-19 complications avoid situations where they could be exposed to this infection. Now is the time for high risk individuals – those who are over 60, who are pregnant, or who have chronic medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease – to “shelter in place”. Travel outside the home and in public places should be limited to only essential, unavoidable activity. Rigorous hand washing and respiratory hygiene (cover your cough) are more important than ever. Community members who have fevers and respiratory symptoms MUST stay home until recovered for 72 hours whether they are tested or not.

Community Health Developmental Disabilities 360-385-9400
360-385-9401 (f)

Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community

Environmental Public Health
360-385-9444
(f) 360-379-4487