By Michele Smith
The Times 

Columbia County Public Health reports rise in COVID-19 cases

Dayton schools return to distance learning


November 26, 2020

DAYTON—On Sunday, November 22, the Columbia County Public Health Department reported sixteen new positive cases of COVID-19; two cases are associated with Dayton schools.

Dayton schools were closed on Monday, and the Dayton School District board of directors met Monday evening to discuss next steps. It was decided to move to distance learning on Tuesday and re-evaluate the situation over the holiday weekend, as more data becomes available. On Monday, November 23, there were 26 tests pending results.

The Starbuck school remains open to in-person learning, and the District expects to return to in-person learning on November 30, having had no cases of COVID-19 in the community.

County Public Health Administrator Martha Lanman stressed the importance of complying with the new guidance issued from the governor’s office, which began on November 16.

“We all don’t like the new rules, but we want our kids to stay in school, and we want our healthcare workers to remain safe,” she said.

Lanman said a worst-case scenario would exist if hospital facilities became over-crowded with COVID-19 patients, limiting the ability to treat emergency conditions, like heart attack and stroke. That would also put an end to most elective surgeries.

Eight of the sixteen positive cases reported on Sunday are people over the age of 60; four are between 30 and 60 years of age. Two are between the ages of 18 and 30.

Contact tracing is ongoing. The Health Department will notify anyone determined to have come into contact with people testing positive.

Lanman urges people to reach out to their primary care physicians for testing if they are feeling unwell.

Since March, 24 people in Columbia County have tested positive and have recovered from COVID-19. Four of them have been hospitalized, according to the state Department of Health dashboard. In July, a 60-year-old man from Columbia County died in a Spokane area hospital. A Dayton man over the age of fifty died in a hospital outside the county in early November.


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