Updates From Public Health: Thursday April 9

Today’s Public Health Update:

Public Health – Seattle & King County is distributing over 20,000 test kits to high priority areas, thanks to donations from UW Medicine and the Seattle Flu Study. Public Health urges everyone to continue practicing social distancing, even while outdoors, in order to maintain progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19. In addition, Public Health reported 198 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the official case count in King County to 3886. Fourteen new deaths were reported, bringing the total of COVID-19 deaths in King County to 258.

Over 20,000 kits to be distributed locally for COVID-19 testing needs

Testing is an essential component to contain the spread of COIVD-19.  Limitations in testing supplies have hampered the response to the COVID-19 outbreak both locally and across the United States. Thanks to donations of test kits from UW Medicine, Seattle Flu Study (SFS) and the Washington State Department of Health, Public Health – Seattle & King County will be distributing needed supplies to test for the virus that causes COVID-19.

UW Medicine is contributing 20,000 test kits, prioritized for first responders, health care workers and people who live and work in high-risk congregate settings, including long-term care facilities and homeless shelters.

SFS, which is executing SCAN in partnership with Public Health, will be making an additional 2,000 self-swab kits available to healthcare workers in long-term care facilities. These are primarily being provided as part of a study to understand coronavirus prevalence among healthcare workers, and may also inform recommendations for protecting patients. In addition, SFS will continue to offer testing to approximately 100 homeless shelter residents and staff each week as part of a separate study.

The Washington State Department of Health is making 1,000 kits available locally for testing of emergency medical service providers through existing operations.

“These kits help address the urgency to increase testing for COVID-19 in King County. I thank our community partners who are helping to do the testing where it’s most needed at this time,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Learn more about testing on the Public Health Insider blog, including an infographic that explains the current testing process.

Maintain social distancing, even while enjoying the outdoors

As weather warms up, getting outdoors for exercise and fresh air is great for our health. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and avoid a rebound of illness, Public Health urges everyone to continue following social distancing guidance, even when outdoors.

Stay six feet apart from others at all times, including outdoors. Go solo or with people in your own household, not in groups. If you’re outdoors and it’s too crowded to maintain six-foot distancing, head to another area.

In order to prevent crowding, many outdoor recreational areas are temporarily closed. All King County Parks and trails are temporarily closed and City of Seattle Parks has closed many facilities and amenities. Please obey these closures and encourage the same of friends and family. Social distancing only works if we all participate.

If everyone visits destination parks at once, it will be too crowded for safe social distancing. Try to utilize outdoor space near your home so people who may not have access to walkable neighborhoods or backyards, or who have kids who need space to play, can have access to destination parks.

Learn more about how to safely enjoy the outdoors on the Public Health Insider blog.

Everyone, even people who are young and healthy, must stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Each individual’s actions affect the health of our entire community, and what we do as a community protects us all. Stand Together, Stay Apart

For additional information about COVID-19 and the response in King County, be sure to check our webpage: www.kingcounty.gov/covid

Case updates

Public Health—Seattle & King County is reporting the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 4/8/20.

  • 3886 confirmed positive cases (up 198* from yesterday)
  • 258 confirmed deaths (up 14 from yesterday)

* The “new confirmed positive cases” figure we publish each day represents all new confirmed cases reported to us through 11:59 the night prior. Some of these test results were processed on days prior but were delayed in being reported to us.

Detailed information about demographics of those who died from COVID-19 is available on the data dashboard (www.kingcounty.gov/covid/data).

Temporary changes in reporting of negative COVID-19 test results

King County’s COVID-19 data dashboard (www.kingcounty.gov/covid/data) is based on data provided by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). As of April 4, 2020, DOH has temporarily stopped reporting data on negative test results. As a result, we are no longer displaying information on negative test results on our data dashboard.

Isolation and quarantine facilities update

Isolation and quarantine is a proven public health practice for reducing the spread of disease. Examples of people who may need this assistance include people who cannot safely isolate from a family member who is elderly or medically fragile, or people experiencing homelessness. Individuals can only be placed into the King County sites after a health professional with Public Health has determined that they need isolation or quarantine.

Fifty-two people are currently staying in King County isolation and quarantine facilities.

The number of residents at King County’s isolation and quarantine sites will be included in regular updates provided by Public Health. No other identifying or personal information will be provided.

 

 

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