PACIFIC COUNTY — Pacific County secured 100 covid-19 testing kits from the state, which will be used to stock mobile testing stations.
As of March 30, healthcare providers tested 55 people for covid-19 in Pacific County, and are continuing to secure testing kits through the hospitals’ supply chains. All tests in Pacific County so far have come back negative.
There is a nationwide shortage of covid-19 test kits. Pacific County Public Health and Human Services Department Director Katie Lindstrom said the state was not prioritizing sending tests and medical supplies to Pacific County due to the low number of confirmed covid-19 cases in this part of Washington. However, the county worked through that issue with the state and got a shipment of tests from the national stockpile.
Ideally the county would have enough tests to test everyone, said Tessa Clements, chief of logistics for the Pacific County Emergency Operations Center.
“But that’s not realistic and it’s not going to be realistic in the near future, so we are trying to make best use of the tests we have,” Clements said.
Testing does not change how a person is medically treated. It is used to help the county protect the rest of the population and testing asymptomatic people does no good, said Scott McDougall, director of the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency.
Testing priorities are patients hospitalized with severe lower respiratory illness; patients who work where healthcare services are delivered, this can include jails, behavioral health clinics and long-term care facilities; people working in public safety occupations, such as law enforcement, firefighters and EMS workers; patients working in a group living setting, such as homeless shelters; and people working in critical infrastructure jobs, such as grocery store clerks, pharmacists and gas station attendants.
In a March 31 press release, the county announced that it will offer drive-thru testing April 2 in Long Beach and April 3 in South Bend. Appointments can be made beginning April 1 by calling the Pacific County Emergency Operations Center at 360-875-9407 or 360-642-9407. The testing location and appointment time will be given when the screening of the person requesting the test has been completed.
In addition to testing kits, Pacific County’s assisted living facilities, law enforcement agencies, fire departments and hospitals have asked the state supply them with personal protective equipment.
Some of the things requested were 4,000 surgical masks, more than 300 N95 masks, 25 goggles, extra-large disposable gowns, universal gowns, 68 bottles of hand sanitizer, four boxes of medium gloves and four boxes of large gloves. Those orders are still pending. The county is searching other avenues for supplies, including requesting donations from the community.
While homemade masks cannot be used by medical personnel, they can be used by high-risk members of the community, Lindstrom said.
Donation requests include masks, gowns, gloves and face/splash shields. These supplies would be shared with local medical personnel and first responders. First responders need these supplies to be able to respond to calls without putting themselves at risk of getting sick, said Jerry Phillips, mayor of Long Beach.
“Any and all donations of PPE will be greatly appreciated and help us continue to respond to covid-19 in the communities of Pacific County,” the county wrote in a news release on March 27.
Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. every weekday at the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center, 300 Memorial Drive in South Bend or at the South Pacific County Administrative building at 7013 Sandridge Road, Long Beach. The donation box in Long Beach is located in the annex of the health department.
If people have questions regarding donations they are directed to call 360-875-9407 or 360-642-9407. People can also email pceocOps@co.pacific.wa.us.