WAHKIAKUM COUNTY — Wahkiakum County health officials have confirmed the county’s second case of covid-19, less than a week after announcing its first case on April 3.
The two cases are unrelated, said Chris Bischoff, director of the Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services Department.
The department was notified of its first confirmed case of covid-19 on April 2, and alerted the community on April 3, after waiting an appropriate amount of time to allow the person tested to be told of the results first, Bischoff said. The department was told about the second case on April 6.
Neither person was hospitalized after becoming sick. Both are in quarantine and the department’s public health nurse is working to find anyone who may have had close contact with either person. The nurse will then decide if those people need to be tested in addition to being isolated.
“We have expected this. We have planned for this. We have coordinated with partner agencies to monitor for the disease in the county,” Bischoff wrote on April 3 in a press release about the case. “The covid-19 virus is new, but State, Federal, and WHHS public health response is not.”
The first confirmed test was done by the private lab, LabCorp. The second case was confirmed by the UW Medicine Lab.
Washington cases and deaths
The first case of covid-19 in Washington and the U.S. was announced on Jan. 21, with the first death in Washington announced on Feb. 29. Since then, the number of cases in Washington has risen to 8,384, with 372 deaths reported, according to the state Health Department’s website at 6:30 p.m. on April 6. A separate database maintained by National Public Radio reported 383 deaths and 8,384 cases as of 8 a.m. April 7.
At least 110 tests for the disease have been conducted in Pacific County with no confirmed cases at this time. However, with Wahkiakum’s confirmed cases, every county bordering Pacific County has confirmed at least one case of covid-19.
Pacific County is now just one of two counties in the state without a confirmed case of covid-19. Garfield County in southeastern Washington, the state’s smallest county with a population of about 2,000 people, also has no reported cases.
Five cases have been reported across the Columbia River in Clatsop County as of April 7.
Public health is identifying more positive cases of covid-19 in the state every day, Bischoff wrote in his news release. The disease spreads from person to person contact. As more people are tested, more cases will be confirmed, Bischoff wrote.
Symptoms of covid-19 can include:
• Shortness of breath
If people believe they have been exposed to covid-19, call ahead before going to a healthcare provider, urgent care or an emergency department.
No vaccine exists for covid-19. People can take steps to protect themselves and others from this disease by:
• Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoiding close contact with others.
• Covering their mouths and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. And washing their hands after throwing the tissue in the trash.
• Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces.
• Staying at home and away from others as much as possible.
Coronaviruses aren’t new. They form a large family of viral illnesses that include the common cold. Experts have not previously identified the coronavirus that causes covid-19.
For more information on the Wahkiakum case and resources in the county people can visit wahkiakumcovid19.com.