Grays Harbor Public Health officials are reporting the County’s first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  The man in his 60s is in isolation and receiving care at Grays Harbor Community Hospital.  He did not travel outside the United States before becoming ill.

Public Health is working with the patient’s family to identify and evaluate persons who had close contact with him while he was contagious.  Persons believed to be exposed will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days past their last exposure and report any symptoms to Public Health.

“We have expected and planned for this,” said Dr. John Bausher, the County’s Public Health Officer.  “The public health system works every day to track and follow up on cases of disease exposure.  The virus is new, but the public health response is not.”

The risk of COVID-19 in Washington is increasing and Public Health expects that more cases will be identified now that the criteria for testing have broadened. 

Most cases are mild

The number of cases are increasing, but the vast majority of the illnesses in the U.S. and around the world are mild, with fever and cough. About eighty percent of people infected with novel coronavirus have not needed hospital care.  A much smaller percentage of cases are more severe and involve pneumonia, particularly in elderly people and people with underlying medical conditions.

When to seek medical evaluation and advice

If you have symptoms like cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, contact your regular doctor first. Do not go to the emergency room unless you need emergency care. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.

If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

If you’re over 60 or you have underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and weakened immune system, come up with a plan with your doctor to identify your health risks for COVID-19 and how to manage symptoms. Contact your doctor right away if you do have symptoms.

Today, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced new community strategies and social distancing plans for: King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties.  Grays Harbor Public Health will continue to monitor statewide guidance and our health officer, Dr. Bausher, will adjust local recommendations as needed.

Grays Harbor County Public Health provides up-to-date information about the County’s COVID-19 response and what County residents can do to slow the spread of the virus and protect people at risk of serious illness. The most current recommendations can be found on the web at http://www.healthygh.org/covid19.

About Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department

Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department works to improve the health and well-being of the people of Grays Harbor.

Grays Harbor Community Hospital said in a press release Wednesday afternoon, that they were notified Wednesday of the first positive COVID-19 test for a Grays Harbor County resident. COVID-19 is the illness caused by novel coronavirus.

The person who tested positive for COVID-19 is a Grays Harbor County resident who had visited King County in February. The patient came to our ER where they were evaluated, admitted, and placed in a droplet isolation room. The individual is still in isolation and receiving care.

To protect the affected individual’s privacy, Grays Harbor Community Hospital will not release additional details about the person unless it is imperative to protect public health. We are working with Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department to proceed in a safe and prudent manner.

The positive test was reported by our commercial lab partner. The case is classified as a “presumptive positive” until the test can be confirmed by the state public health laboratory or the CDC.

GHCH has 6 full isolation rooms for those who may become gravely ill from COVID-19. We do have the capability to care for more patients if necessary, through standard droplet isolation procedures as established by the CDC. We are taking extra precautions in the cleaning of our facility.

At this time, we are implementing limits on the number and types of vistors allowed into our facility in order to reduce the potential for infection from the outside. This will help to protect our patients who are generally those most at risk from the Coronavirus.

GHCH is preparing drive up COVID-19 testing for those with symptoms at the Hospital’s main campus at 915 Anderson Dr, Aberdeen. We will make an announcement as soon as that service is available. We request that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms that are not life-threatening, please avoid public gatherings and stay home.