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Here’s what we know so far regarding the COVID-19 outbreak for Clallam and Jefferson counties, plus regionally, nationally and internationally:
Wednesday, July 15
• Via The Associated Press: What you need to know today about the virus outbreak.
• Walmart will require customers at all of its US stores to wear face masks beginning July 20, becoming the largest retailer to mandate facial coverings as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
• Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that he’s tested positive for the coronavirus and that he is isolating at home.
The first-term Republican governor has backed one of the country’s most aggressive reopening plans, has resisted any statewide mandate on masks and rarely wears one himself.
• What is this enemy? Seven months after the first patients were hospitalized in China battling an infection doctors had never seen before, the world’s scientists and citizens have reached an unsettling crossroads.
• Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday the statewide pause for counties looking to advance from their current stage of economic reopening will continue though at least July 28, and he warned there is a “significant risk” that parts of the economy may have to be closed again if #coronavirus activity continues to climb.
• Countries around the world are reimposing lockdowns and implementing new health checks at their borders in an effort to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus before it spins even further out of control.
• The outbreak of the coronavirus this year, and the upending of society it has produced, have caused views of school in American life to collide in ways that have thrown millions of parental lives into disarray. Now, President Donald Trump is demanding that schools reopen in the fall. But with the virus resurging widely, many working parents see no good options.
• Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported on the North Olympic Peninsula on Tuesday as health officials continued to emphasize the need to wear face masks and use physical distancing to stem further transmission.
• Gov. Jay Inslee held a media briefing this afternoon and announced he and DOH will extend the pause on considering county’s moving to new phases of reopening to at least July 28. He cited data that shows transmission rates of COVID-19 are increasing throughout most of the state instead of falling, and there’s a growing percentage of new cases are among Washingtonians in their 20s. Yakima County is the exception as its mask-wearing efforts appear to be successful so far and transmission is declining. Inslee cautioned that California and Oregon recently restored certain restrictions and Washington state’s health officials are watching COVID-19 activity closely to determine if similar steps will be necessary here. Watch the media briefing on TVW.
• The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the CDC and send all coronavirus patient information to a central database, starting today. This alarms health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public.
• The state of Washington reported 554 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. This brings the total number of cases to 42,304, as of July 13 at 11:59 p.m. The total number of deaths are at 1,404.
• Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities, the Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the country if their schools held classes entirely online because of the pandemic.
• The U.S. and Canada are poised to extend their agreement to keep their shared border closed to nonessential travel to Aug. 21, but a final confirmation has not been given, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
The agreement would likely extend the closure by another 30 days. The official was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of an announcement this week, and spoke on condition of anonymity. The restrictions were announced on March 18 and were extended in April, May and June.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week that a decision on the border would be announced later this week.
• In the continuing effort to collect, maintain and publish the most useful data available to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has published a new death data report that includes different categories of COVID-19 deaths. Among those who have tested positive for COVID-19, these categories include confirmed due to COVID-19, suspected of being due to COVID-19, non-COVID-19 deaths and deaths pending or missing cause of death. In addition, there are 77 deaths that are probably due to COVID-19, but they are not among those who have tested positive for COVID-19.
For more local coronavirus stories, click here.
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 7 p.m. July 14, 718,234 individuals have been tested in Washington state, with 42,304 confirmed cases (meaning the person has the virus) and 1,404 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.
• 1,404 deaths statewide.
• 12,213 cases in King County. 624 deaths.
• 8,357 cases in Yakima County. 183 deaths.
• 4,072 cases in Snohomish County. 177 deaths.
• 3,312 cases in Pierce County. 108 deaths.
• 315 cases in Kitsap County. 2 deaths.
• 44 cases in Jefferson County. 0 deaths.
• 65 cases in Clallam County. 0 deaths.
For other county numbers, visit www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus.
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Washington 211 COVID-19 Call Center. Do you need information or answers to your questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? You can call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211 for help. You can also text the word “Coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on COVID-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students and more.
Do you need support due to stress from COVID-19? Call Washington Listens, a line that provides nonclinical support to people experiencing elevated stress due to COVID-19. People who call Washington Listens will speak to a support specialist and receive information and connection to community resources in their area. The program is anonymous and no identifying information is maintained. People who staff Washington Listens will receive basic training needed to provide support to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reach Washington Listens, call 1-833-681-0211 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Read the Washington Listens fact sheet.
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.
• In mid-May, the CDC quietly added congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea as sign of COVID-19.
• Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.
• Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.
• COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
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. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.
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.