The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Tracy Thompson
the Times 

Walla Walla County COVID-19 cases have doubled in the past week

Yakima, Franklin and Benton counties see higher numbers of confirmed positive test results


April 16, 2020

WALLA WALLA—Walla Walla County health officials confirmed on April 12 that the local case count for COVID-19 has more than doubled in the past week. Twelve additional residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since Friday, April 3rd. This brings Walla Walla Counties case count to 21.

Columbia County, as of April 12, still has one positive test-case for the coronavirus.

Six of the Walla Walla County cases are from the Burbank/Wallula area and are related to a workplace exposure (see Tyson Fresh Meats).

Five of Walla Walla County cases are from College Place. These cases are related to out of county and household exposures. Two of these cases are recovered and the remaining are under home isolation All close contacts have been notified and are isolating appropriately.

The remaining ten cases reside in the City of Walla Walla. Three are linked to the workplace exposure in Burbank/Wallula and the other five are related to out of county and household exposures. One resident was admitted to the hospital and the rest remain under home isolation. All close contacts have been notified and are isolating appropriately. Eleven cases are male, nine are female. One case is under 20, seven are 20-39, seven are 40-59, five are 60-79 and none are over 80.

Upon being tested for COVID-19 patients are sent home to isolate until their test results come back unless they work for an essential business; then they can return to work if needed, and wear a mask. If test results come back negative, the patient is released from isolation and can return to work if necessary or ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy.’

However, if a case tests positive, they continue isolation for seven days from when their symptoms first appeared AND until they are without respiratory symptoms and are fever free for three days (72-hours). In addition, all close contacts of a case are notified and instructed to quarantine at home, or if they have symptoms, they are instructed to seek appropriate medication care and be tested.

The health department notes that “To date, all cases and contacts have been compliant with the isolation and quarantine orders. However, if someone is not, our local Health Officer has the authority to issue a court order for isolation and law enforcement may be involved. Thus, we encourage all cases and contacts to please continue to stay home and help keep our community safe.”

There is good news on the supply level of necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Emergency Management Director Liz Jessee noted that “PPE supply levels are improving. We received two pallets of PPE on Friday, April 10, and another this morning, April 11. These supplies are coming from the Unified Area Command State Emergency Operations Center (WA State Department of Health and WA State Division of Emergency Management). We’ll be working to distribute supplies this afternoon and tomorrow morning to the healthcare community and EMS responders.”

Regionally, the numbers of confirmed cases are quite a bit higher. As of April 12, there were 261 confirmed cases in Benton County (Richland, Kennewick, Prosser and Benton City), with 29 deaths recorded as a result of COVID-19.

The neighboring counties of Franklin (Pasco, Connell, Kahlotus) have a COVID-19 case report of 129 as of April 12, with two reported deaths; while Yakima County recorded 573 cases with 23 deaths.

The Washington State Department of Health announced the first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States in Washington State on January 21, 2020.

As of 11:59 p.m. on April 12, there are 10,538 cases of COVID-19 in Washington state. Total deaths in Washington state stand at 516, total tests as of April 11 was 87,856. The percent positive rate from that date is 8.5 percent.


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