Here’s what we know so far regarding the COVID-19 outbreak for Clallam and Jefferson counties, plus around the state, nationally and internationally:
Thursday, May 27
• Via The Associated Press: What you need to know today about the virus outbreak.
• State health officials confirmed 358 new COVID-19 cases in Washington on Thursday, as well as 11 additional deaths.
The update brings the state’s totals to 20,764 cases and 1,106 deaths, according the Department of Health’s (DOH) data dashboard. The dashboard reports 3,413 hospitalizations in Washington.
So far, 343,091 tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted in the state, per DOH. Of those, 6 percent have come back positive.
• Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman approved variance applications for Clallam and Kitsap counties to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan.
A total of 26 counties have now been approved to move to Phase 2: Adams, Asotin, Clallam, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla and Whitman.
• The Boston Marathon has been canceled for the first time in its 124-year history.
• As U.S. coronavirus deaths top 100,000, Democrats are slamming the Trump administration for failing to protect front-line workers, including those at meatpacking plants and health care facilities where outbreaks of the disease are spiking.
At a House hearing Thursday, Democrats charged that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been “largely invisible” during the pandemic and hasn’t found ways to combat it, such as by issuing an emergency temporary standard for worker protection.
• The Trump administration mishandled the initial distribution of the only approved coronavirus medication, delaying treatment to some critically ill patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to nine current and former senior administration officials.
The first tranche of 607,000 vials of the antiviral medication remdesivir, donated to the government by drugmaker Gilead Sciences, was distributed in early May — in some cases to the wrong hospitals, to hospitals with no intensive care units and therefore no eligible patients, and to facilities without the needed refrigeration to store it, meaning some had to be returned to the government, said the officials familiar with the distribution effort.
• Snohomish County officials announced plans on Thursday to apply to reopen more sectors of public life, including retail stores and services such as barber shops and nail salons.
The county’s executive, board of health chair, and county council chair together announced their intention to move to the second phase of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase reopening plan.
• Fired whistleblower emergency physician Dr. Ming Lin, backed by attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit Thursday against former employer PeaceHealth, one of its top administrators and a national medical staffing firm, seeking damages and reinstatement after his March dismissal from a Bellingham hospital.
• A child in the Pasco area has been diagnosed with a multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, an illness associated with COVID-19, said the Benton Franklin Health District.
• As the death toll from the coronavirus rose above 100,000 in the United States, there were also record numbers getting sick in India and worrying signs of a resurgence in South Korea.
• The U.S. surpassed a jarring milestone Wednesday in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths.
That number is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. But it represents the stark reality that more Americans have died from the virus than from the Vietnam and Korea wars combined.
• Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman on Wednesday cleared Kittitas, Thurston and Walla Walla counties to move into the second phase of the state’s four-part coronavirus reopening plan.
• Washington’s churches and houses of faith can start to hold services again — with restrictions — under new coronavirus safety guidance from the state, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday.
The guidelines will allow up to 100 people — excluding religious staff — to meet outdoors at the property of a faith group anywhere in the state.
Then, in the second phase of the governor’s four-part reopening plan, faith organizations will be allowed to hold services indoors while capping attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or 50 people, whichever is less.
In that phase, faith groups will also be allowed to provide in-home services for up to five people.
• The Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center (KCEOC) has compiled a Pathway to Recovery Playbook to provide guidance for the way forward as the county nears a move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan.
The count of cases and deaths is a moving target, with jurisdictions reporting sometimes-contradictory numbers. Ours might not match what other media are reporting.
• As of 5 p.m. May 28, 343,091 individuals have been tested in Washington state, with 20,764 confirmed cases (meaning the person has the virus) and 1,106 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.
• 1,106 deaths statewide.
• 7,923 cases in King County. 562 deaths.
• 2,937 cases in Snohomish County. 147 deaths.
• 1,884 cases in Pierce County. 78 deaths.
• 162 cases in Kitsap County. 2 deaths.
• 30 cases in Jefferson County. 0 deaths.
• 25 cases in Clallam County. 0 deaths.
• Other counties reporting cases: Adams (54), Asotin (19; 2 deaths); Benton (742; 61 deaths), Chelan (238; 6 deaths), Clark (449; 22 deaths), Columbia (1), Cowlitz (73), Douglas (164; 3 deaths), Ferry (1), Franklin (523; 20 deaths), Garfield (0), Grant (198; 4 deaths), Grays Harbor (16), Island (177; 11 deaths), Kittitas (80), Klickitat (24; 3 deaths), Lewis (35; 3 deaths), Lincoln (2), Mason (34; 1 death), Okanogan (47; 1 death), Pacific (9; 1 death); Pend Oreille (3); San Juan (15), Skagit (428; 15 deaths), Skamania (3), Spokane (531; 31 deaths), Stevens (11; 1 death), Thurston (132; 1 death), Wahkiakum (4); Walla Walla (108; 2 deaths), Whatcom (383; 36 deaths), Whitman (16) and Yakima (3,231; 93 deaths). (Unassigned: 53; 0)
On the Peninsula
COVID-19 information & best practices
What is the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, known as SARS-CoV-2, is the virus strain identified in January that causes COVID-19, coronavirus disease, and is spreading from person to person.
While the virus has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people, about 80 percent of cases are relatively mild.
• Key symptoms of COVID-19: shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, cough, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
• Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.
• Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.
• COVID-19 is transmitted by being in close contact with someone who is coughing or sneezing for a long period of time.
• Exposure must occur >15 minutes, “which is still more than most casual contact but is quite a bit shorter than what we were initially told,” said Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County health officer, in an email. Transmission occurs from particulates from coughing and sneezing.
• People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
• Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
• It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, according to the CDC.
“That’s why we push the handwashing and surface cleaning so much,” Unthank said.
• Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness, according to the CDC. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
What to do if you’re sick
• If you suspect you have COVID-19, isolate at home during illness. Restrict activities outside of the home except for getting medical care. Call ahead unless you are in crisis.
• Call 360-417-2430, a hotline that provides local information on the infection.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
As a reminder, according to the CDC, here are recommended everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
For more information on using cloth face coverings and how to make your own, click here.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
• Once home from work, school, running errands, etc., immediately wash your hands.
• Consider purchasing the following supplies: extra fluids and hydrating drinks (Gatorade and Pedialyte); food for when you’re sick (soups, broths, crackers, honey, nonperishable items); pain and fever medications (acetaminophen or ibuprofen); cough drops and cough medications; prescription medications; tissues; household cleaners (bleach, alcohol, soap, disinfecting wipes).
• You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.