Submitted by Lewis County Public Health & Social Services
Lewis County Public Health & Social Services (LCPHSS) announced today that three more county residents – one in their 30s, one in their 50s, and one in their 80s – have tested positive for COVID-19. All are undergoing medical care, and contact investigations have been to identify others who may have been exposed.
Health officials say that while they understand people’s concerns, they are prevented by law from divulging personal information such as who the person is or where they live, other than in Lewis County. If people practice social distancing, officials say, they dramatically reduce their risk of getting the disease from anyone, no matter who it is.
“One of the greatest risks with COVID-19 is the fact that people can pass it to one another before they even know they are sick,” according to LCPHSS Deputy Director and Epidemiologist John Abplanalp. Before any symptoms start, he said, nobody knows if they are infectious, or if anyone around them is infectious. “That is why social distancing is so important. It doesn’t let people get close enough to each other to pass the disease, even when they don’t feel sick,” Abplanalp said.
Another very important action is to self-quarantine if you begin to feel ill with any cough, fever, or problems breathing. You may or may not have the coronavirus, but if you do, you can spread it to everyone around you. Health officials urge people to stay home and keep away from others until you feel better or a test proves you are not infectious.
An additional factor being seen in COVID-19 cases all across the country is the potential for disease spread because symptoms may be mild, testing is limited and test results take days to get back.
Abplanalp said that without social distancing and self-quarantine, a person can unwittingly spread the coronavirus to friends, co-workers, and loved ones for up to two weeks. “Let’s say someone becomes infectious but has no symptoms for a couple of days. They can spread the disease during that time. Then, they start feeling kind of sick for a few days, then they get sick enough to meet the criteria for testing. Test results can take up to 5 days to confirm they have COVID-19. That’s up to two weeks where that individual could be infecting others,” Abplanalp warned.
Health officials continue to stress that along with social distancing, your best defense against COVID-19 is:
- Wash your 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, doorknobs, handles, etc.
In addition, DOH has a call center to answer questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.