TACOMA, Wash.—We received a positive test result for COVID-19 in a Pierce County resident. The man in his 50s is in stable condition at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor. He went to the hospital March 4. He has underlying health conditions and experienced pneumonia. The hospital ordered the test for COVID-19. The man did not travel outside the country.
The University of Washington conducted the test, which is presumptive positive until the Centers for Control and Prevention confirms it. We are working to identify anyone who may have an exposure risk because of contact with the person.
We have expected this. We have planned for this. We have coordinated with partner agencies to monitor for the disease in the county.
“Public health works every day to identify, track, and follow up on cases of potential disease exposure to protect people’s health,” said Director of Health Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH. “The COVID-19 virus is new, but the local, state, and federal public health response is not,” Chen said.
Am I at risk?
The current risk of COVID-19 in Washington is increasing. Public health is identifying more positive cases of the disease in the state. These new cases suggest the disease is spreading in Washington. As we test more people, we expect to find more positive cases. People most at risk traveled internationally to an affected area and have symptoms:
- Shortness of breath.
If you think you were at risk of exposure to COVID-19, call ahead before you go to your healthcare provider, urgent care, or the emergency department.
What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?
Currently, no vaccine exists for COVID-19. You can take steps to protect yourself and people around you from this and other diseases:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are sick.
It’s cold and flu season. These more common respiratory illnesses have affected our communities—especially the flu. So far this season, 10 adults and two children have died from flu-related complications. The flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. It’s not too late to get your flu shot. Learn more at www.tpchd.org/flu.
What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses aren’t new. They form a large family of viral illnesses that includes the common cold. Experts have not previously identified the coronavirus in the current outbreak. We continue to learn more about it.
How do coronaviruses spread?
The most common ways human coronaviruses spread:
- Coughing and sneezing.
- Contact with a sick person—within six feet—for 10 minutes or more.
- Contact with an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
Diseases don’t discriminate.
The Health Department is your source for reliable local public health information. Make sure you seek out and share accurate information related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Diseases don’t discriminate or stop at city, county, or international borders. COVID-19 may have originated abroad, but not everyone from parts of the world with increased risk has the disease or was potentially exposed to it. Remember to:
- Rely on and share trusted sources of information about the outbreak.
- Avoid comments that unfairly label, harass, or spread misinformation.
Find updated information about the novel coronavirus and our sharable infographic at www.tpchd.org/coronavirus.
About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment to protect public health. We are one of roughly 244 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.Print This Post