Nine COVID-19 tests for Kitsap residents returned negative

As of Monday morning, the Kitsap Public Health District announced that nine negative results of COVID-19 have been confirmed by the state public health lab for Kitsap County residents.

A total of 14 tests have been submitted to the lab, which means five tests are still pending. Additionally, the University of Washington confirmed five negative test results for Kitsap County residents. According to KPHD Public Information Officer Tad Sooter, the health district only has access to the number of tests submitted to the state public health lab, which is why they report that number.

“We don’t have access to the number of tests being submitted to labs other than the state public health lab,” Sooter said in an email to the North Kitsap Herald. “We only have access to results from those labs. This is why we separate the state public health lab results from the UW results.”

On Sunday, KPHD officials announced that they had identified a “presumptive positive” test of COVID-19 in Kitsap County. The individual who tested positive for the virus was described as a Bainbridge Island resident in their 60s. According to the health district, the person is in isolation and receiving care.

Initially, the positive test was reported by the University of Washington and was classified by KPHD as a “presumptive positive” until the results could be confirmed by the state public health laboratory. KPHD announced Monday afternoon that it would discontinue this practice. The March 8 test results are now classified as positive.

In order to protect the affected individual’s privacy, KPHD stated that it would not be releasing additional details about the person unless it is imperative to protect public health. The health district has worked to notify a small group of individuals who were identified as having had close contact with the case. These individuals are being asked to stay home.

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 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.

“It is important that supplies of masks and other personal protective equipment remain available for health care providers who are evaluating and treating ill people.”

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.

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