As of Wednesday, public health officials have reported two positive tests and 19 negative tests of COVID-19 in Kitsap County.
The health district also announced Wednesday that they will only be listing the total number of positive and negative results for Kitsap County reported to the state and will no longer be reporting tests submitted. To date, there are no tests for Kitsap County residents pending at the state public health lab in Shoreline. Of the 14 tests submitted to the public health lab from Kitsap, 12 were negative, one test could not be completed and one test was assigned to a different county.
The two individuals who tested positive for the virus are Bainbridge Island residents, one in their 60s and one in their 70s. Kitsap Public Health District officials also noted that the two cases were linked and they are working as quickly as possible to notify people identified as having been in close contact with the affected individuals. Close contacts will be instructed to stay home, per Department of Health guidelines. In order to protect the affected individuals’ privacy, KPHD stated that it would not be releasing additional details about them unless it is imperative to protect public health.
All COVID-19 tests are ordered by health care providers who are now using labs outside the public health system such as the University of Washington and LabCorp.
“Kitsap Public Health does not have access to the number of tests submitted to these labs,” the KPHD statement reads. “This means we cannot report the number of pending COVID-19 tests from Kitsap.”
What we know about COVID-19
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Common symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. According to the health district, most people with COVID-19 have experienced mild illness similar to a cold, but some groups, including older adults and people with underlying health conditions, are at a higher risk of developing severe illness.
How to keep yourself safe
According to the health district, the transmission of the disease is thought to occur mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts. There is currently not a vaccine or treatment available for COVID-19 and the incubation period for someone with the virus is 2 to 14 days. KPHD advises people to take these simple steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:
• Wash your hands frequently
• Avoid touching your face
• Cough and sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue, then throw away the tissue
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home when you or a family member is sick
• Clean and disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces
People with mild symptoms are advised to stay home and rest while those who are severely ill or at high risk of severe illness should stay home and call their health care provider. The health district recommends healthy people not wear masks to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, but rather leave them for people who are sick when seeking medical care and for health care providers.
Looking ahead, public health officials believe COVID-19 will continue to spread in Washington and Kitsap residents should make plans in case additional prevention strategies are recommended including telecommuting, avoiding large gatherings and closure of schools and other institutions.