Grays Harbor Public Health officials Wednesday afternoon reported the county’s first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a man in his 60s who is in isolation and receiving care at Grays Harbor Community Hospital.
The man did not travel outside the United States before becoming ill, according to a release from county Public Health.
Public Health is working with the patient’s family to identify and evaluate people who had close contact with him while he was contagious. Persons believed to be exposed will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days past their last exposure and report any symptoms to Public Health.
“We have expected and planned for this,” said Dr. John Bausher, the County’s Public Health Officer.
“The public health system works every day to track and follow up on cases of disease exposure. The virus is new, but the public health response is not,” he said.
The risk of COVID-19 in Washington is increasing and Public Health expects that more cases will be identified now that the criteria for testing have broadened, said Brianne Probasco, Public Information Officer for COVID-19 Response.
The two Grays Harbor County residents who had been suspected last week of having COVID-19 received their test results and they tested negative for the disease, according to county Public Health.
As of Wednesday, there were 366 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths in the state according to the state Department of Health.
Moving forward, the county won’t report numbers of people being tested, she said.
“In recent days, commercial labs have gained the ability to test for COVID-19. However, commercial labs are not required to go through the same testing notification process as the Public Health Laboratory in Shoreline. As a result, Grays Harbor Public Health is not notified about all of the tests for COVID-19 being conducted on our residents, just a portion of them,” Probasco said.
They will, however, report confirmed cases of COVID-19 of county residents as they are notified of them, “regardless of which lab did the test,” she said.
“The decision of whether or not to test for COVID-19 is one made by the patient’s healthcare provider,” she added.
For more information about testing in Washington State, please visit https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020/TestingforCOVID19
For the latest COVID-19 case counts in Washington State, please visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus