Submitted by Lewis County Public Health & Social Services
Lewis County Public Health & Social Services (LCPHSS) confirmed today that a second Lewis County resident has died due to complications related to COVID-19. The patient was a resident in their 90’s who had been hospitalized outside of the county more than a week ago and had other underlying health conditions in addition to COVID-19 infection. The infection was likely acquired in Lewis County.
LCPHSS also reports that a new positive COVID-19 test has been confirmed in Lewis County. The person is in their 70s and had been hospitalized with complications due to COVID-19 infection. This brings the Lewis County total to 17 residents known to have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, two of whom have died.
Even though COVID-19 testing remains limited, LCPHSS is beginning to gain some useful data, according to Deputy Director and Epidemiologist John Abplanalp. “We don’t know how many Lewis County residents have contracted COVID-19. However, from the confirmed positive tests, we can begin to compile some useful and actionable data,” Abplanalp said.
Data shows that all areas of the county have been touched by COVID-19. This includes residents of the Twin Cities, towns in the east, west and south parts of the county, as well as unincorporated, rural areas.
Residents who have tested positive have ranged in age from their 20s to 90s, with residents over 60 accounting for more than half of the cases. This is consistent with testing results across Washington State. (see graph). Currently a little more than a third – 35% – have been ill enough to require hospitalization.
The overall rate of positive to negative tests is not known in the county. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) cannot yet provide the total number of people who have been tested on a county-by-county level. Statewide, out of more than 83,000 tests done, an average of 91% are negative for COVID-19 and 9 percent have returned positive.
More men than women have tested positive in Lewis County, which is counter to statewide results from a much larger sample of those tested. (see graph) “Because we only have data on 17 cases in Lewis County versus nearly 8,000 cases statewide, we really don’t know if our gender difference is significant or if it’s meaningfully different from the state’s average,” Abplanalp said.
Abplanalp said what is already known for sure is that COVID-19 is a communicable disease. He said, “The disease is circulating. It’s not tied to any one geographic point or any one person. It’s being passed around throughout the county. That is why the recommended hygiene and social distancing measures remain critical to stopping the disease.”