On Wednesday, the Kitsap Public Health District confirmed another COVID-19 related death, marking the 31st in the county since March.
No details were given on the age of the person and if they had underlying health conditions. Of the 30 prior deaths, all of them had underlying health conditions with a large majority over the age of 65.
Additionally, the health district confirmed 35 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number since March to 3,246.
Of the new cases, North Kitsap had five and Bainbridge Island one.
Over the past two weeks, Kitsap County’s positive case rate per 100,000 residents has skyrocketed to 223.4, meaning the county is well over a “high level” of COVID-19 activity, per state guidelines, with a case rate above 75 over the previous 14 days.
A total of 123 cases were considered in “isolation” by the health district, meaning they are “confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases who are in their recommended isolation period” (10 days after first symptoms.) 942 “total close contacts in quarantine” were also confirmed in Kitsap, meaning they are “residents who were determined to be close contacts of confirmed cases and are in their recommended quarantine period” (14 days after last contact with case.)
KPHD and hospital officials are urging action to prevent strain on the healthcare system.
“There is very real potential for our hospitals and clinics to become overwhelmed in coming weeks and months unless we take decisive action as individuals and as a community to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses,” district health officer Dr. Gib Morrow said.
Of the 3,246 total cases, 152 have been reported on Bainbridge Island, 794 in Bremerton, 791 in Central Kitsap, 546 in North Kitsap and 963 in South Kitsap.
Due to a high volume of testing at the state Department of Health, the total number of negative tests along with the percentage of positive tests over the last 14 days are not available.
Based on contact tracing work, the district believes the spread among families and households was a key driver of recent case increases. To prevent spreading it is important for all members of a household to stay home and avoid contact with others if any member of their household has symptoms.
KPHD has temporarily reprioritized contact tracing strategies in response to the spike:
- It has paused daily monitoring calls, meaning staff are no longer making daily calls to positive COVID-19 cases during their isolation period or to close contacts during their quarantine period.
- It is asking positive COVID-19 cases to notify their close contacts of potential exposure. Cases are provided with guidance to give to contacts. The district will resume direct close contact notifications as soon as possible.
- It strives to reach every positive COVID-19 case reported in the county as quickly as possible. Due to the overwhelming caseload, delays in testing, and challenges obtaining contact information, the district may not be able to reach every positive case reported.