COVID-19 Information

If you have symptoms and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow these guidelines from the Washington State Department of Health:

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/
1600/coronavirus/COVIDconcerned.pdf

COVID-19 in Lewis County

Positives (confirmed cases) - 16 Lewis County residents

As of 12:00 pm, April 5, 2020

Lewis County Public Health & Social Services is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments. We understand that people are anxious about this disease and are getting information from many sources before seeing information from official sources. Please know that any delay in our reporting to the public reflects our dedication to accuracy. We will not tell you anything that we cannot confirm to be accurate to the best of our ability. We also want to ensure personal privacy for anyone who becomes directly affected. We honor the trust you put in us to tell the truth and will never knowingly violate that trust. Yes, that takes time, but we believe accuracy is always better then even educated guesses.

When a person tests positive for COVID-19 . . .
by law that positive test information is reported to the public health department in the person’s county of residence. This can cause numbers on this page to not match numbers reported in the media. For instance, if a person works or goes to school here in Lewis County, but lives in, say Yakima County, then Yakima County will receive the positive test report and coordinate the contact investigation. This will include persons the patient was in contact with while at work or school in Lewis County. Conversely, if a person with a positive test works in, say, Thurston County and lives in Lewis County, the positive report will come here to Lewis County Public Health & Social Services and we will coordinate the contact investigation.

What is the Current Risk?

The risk posed by a virus outbreak depends on factors including how well it spreads between people, the severity of the illness it causes, and the medical or other measures we have to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications).

  • COVID-19 is spreading in several communities in Washington, the risk of exposure is increasing for people who live in our state.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Those who have had close contact with persons with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring are at elevated risk of exposure.

Our knowledge of COVID-19 is still rapidly evolving. The risk assessment will be updated as needed.

While county offices are closed . . .

You can go to https://lewiscountywa.gov/covid19/ for details on how to access services for all county departments, including LCPHSS, without having to leave your home.

Current Recommendations

Currently the risk to the general public remains low. To slow the spread of the virus and reduce your chance of getting sick, Lewis County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood advises everyone to:

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw it away, or cough into your elbow
  • Stay away from people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Frequently clean surfaces that get touched a lot – counters, keyboards, your cell phone, door knobs, handles, etc.

If you do get sick, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you’re sick, stay home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. Restrict contact with pets and other animals while sick. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick; if you must care for your pet, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

Seek medical care if you have trouble breathing or if your symptoms worsen. Otherwise, sick people should stay home. If you do seek medical care, please call first to tell them why you want to be seen.

  • Call your doctor’s office before going. Tell them why you think you need to be seen. Give them a chance to bring you into the clinic safely without exposing staff and other patients unnecessarily.
  • If you choose to go to the hospital emergency room, call first for the same reasons as given above for a doctor’s office.
  • Only call 9-1-1 if you are having difficulty breathing or your fever has gone up quickly. When you call, tell the call receiver you are experiencing flu-like symptoms that have worsened so emergency medical responders can take appropriate precautions when treating you.

The best thing anyone can do is stay informed. Use knowledgeable sources you can trust to bring you just the facts without non-medical professionals’ analysis or opinion added. These and other links on this web page are knowledgeable and trusted sources LCPHSS recommends for up-to-date public information on COVID-19.

What can I do to help?

  • The novel coronavirus can’t travel on its own. It needs us to get from one person to the next, to the next . . . . That means every one of us has the power to help stop it in its tracks. How? Simple. Wash your hands. Do your part to so the virus’ path to the next person does not go through you.
  • Donate blood. Because of people’s concerns about COVID-19, blood drives and donor appointments are being canceled. Any drop in blood donation has the consequence of putting patients and surgeries at risk. Information is available at https://www.bloodworksnw.org/about/news/coronavirus
  • Many local service volunteers are retired and at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. If you are otherwise healthy and not in a high-risk group, consider seeing if you can help fill volunteer staffing need at food banks, homeless services, meal services, and others that rely on volunteers.
  • Fight stigma, public panic, and misinformation by getting your information from trusted sources.
  • Maintain privacy and confidentiality of those seeking healthcare and those who may be part of any contact investigation.
  • Raise awareness about COVID-19 without increasing fear.
  • Share accurate information about how the virus spreads.

Q&As

The Washington State Department of Health gets hundreds of questions every day. Here are DOH responses to the most frequently asked questions.

https://medium.com/wadepthealth/frequently-asked-questions-about-covid-19-march-8-2020-5b71232941dc

Specific Guidance Available

Healthcare experts have created these guides to help specific groups and industries: