Thurston County Public Health and Social Services on Saturday announced 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. All but one are attributed to an outbreak at the Olympics West Retirement Inn in Tumwater.
As of Saturday, a total of 16 cases had been identified at the Olympics in the West, according to public health director Schelli Slaughter. A staff member and a resident became ill at the same time and tested positive in the results reported on Wednesday, according to The Olympian’s previous reporting.
Seven residents and four employees account for 11 of the cases reported by the county on Saturday, according to Slaughter, and another three employees have tested positive but are not county residents so it is not listed in the local number.
A person associated with the outbreak at the Olympics in the West is hospitalized, says Slaughter.
Thurston County Public Health and Social Services staff report 1
According to Slaughter, people at the facility who are symptomatic or who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been ordered to isolate, while everyone else has been quarantined for 14 days to see if they develop symptoms. By public health term “isolation” is meant to separate sick people with an infectious disease from people who are not sick, while “quarantine” is intended to separate people who are exposed to an infectious disease to see if they become ill.
Staff who have tested positive are isolated at home, while residents are isolated at the facility, Slaughter said. The origin of the Olympic outbreak is still being investigated.
Test results from a second outbreak at an adult family home in four Thurston County residents had not yet returned from Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline as of Saturday, Slaughter said. The two outbreaks are linked by OS West staff who tested positive on Wednesday and are working at both plants.
Butcher said the other facility is the family’s home for endless care. Based on Washington’s secretary of state, Infinite Care is located in Lacey. The Olympian could not reach the facility on Saturday.
As of Saturday, staff and one resident were the only cases that COVID-19 confirmed at Infinite Care. The rest of the residents and staff have been tested, and Slaughter was hopeful that these results, along with the rest of the test results from Olympics West, would be reflected in the country data released on Sunday.
Because the Infinite Care resident who tested positive recently developed symptoms, the county’s public health believes the disease was transmitted there by the employee working in both facilities, according to Slaughter.
What the increase means for the county and phase 2
These outbreaks were announced just as the state approved Thurston County to move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase plan to gradually reopen the state from restrictions that have existed to curb COVID-19. The move has allowed some local businesses and activities to reopen according to public health guidelines.
Thurston was able to apply for a variance to move to Phase 2, as there were fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 population for 14 days. The governor has since expanded the criteria further, and the new standard is fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 for 14 days.
Discrepancies can be recalled if data shows the circumstances of a county have changed, according to the Secretary of State for Health.
Butcher said that if the state were to use the standard that the county was granted, Thurston’s “threshold” is 29 new cases over two weeks. If Thurston County hits that number, Slaughter said, it could lead to discussion between the county and the state to determine if the county can stay in Phase 2.
“That said, part of us that could move on to Phase 2 was that we showed that we had the capacity and ability to respond to a situation like this, and I’m confident that we do,” Slaughter said in a telephone interview .
Since residents of long-term care facilities live in closed environments, the only way they can get COVID-19 is from staff who have received the coronavirus in the community and brought it in. This outbreak “doesn’t give us a lot of twist room” to have more cases in the community, Slaughter said.
“Even though we are in Phase 2, and it is tempting to go out and see people, people need to be careful, socially distant and consider what is important and what is important and make the calculated risk to themselves,” Slaughter said . “We have COVID here.”
Also this week, Thurston County Acting Health Officer Dr. Diana Yu a directive that requires residents to wear facial coatings in certain public environments. The county says the rule will not be enforced by police or sheriff’s deputies and has since published a detailed document with frequently asked questions about the directive: https://bit.ly/2McUmsK.
Thurston’s biggest hope in the case so far
Saturday’s 12-fall jump was the largest single-day increase in Thurston County since the first case was identified here March 11. The new cases led the county’s total to 148.
Of these 148, 130 are considered “recovery” or “recovered” and one has died, which means that the county’s public health is actively monitoring 17 cases. A person is considered to be “recovered” or “recovered” if it is no longer under the order of public health isolation – they may still have ongoing health problems as a result of the disease.
The new cases were identified in a man and a woman in the 20s, two women in the 40s, three women and a man in the 70s, two men and a woman in the 80s and a man in the 90s. Butcher said that all but one of the people in the 20s was connected to the outbreak at the Olympic Games in the West.
State Department of Health data on Saturday showed an additional COVID-19 death in Thurston County. The slaughterer told The Olympian that the call came from a person in the family home of infinitely ill children who had died; However, the county’s public health did not believe that death was COVID-related and the state’s bill could be changed.
“Thurston County Public Health and Social Services will partner with Washington State DOH to clarify further,” Slaughter said. “We provide more information when we have them.”
As of Saturday, state DOH data showed 21,349 cases of COVID-19 confirmed statewide with 1,118 deaths.