State updates local data, positive test rate holds steady in Kitsap

State updates local data, positive test rate holds steady in Kitsap

The total number of tests performed in Kitsap had not been available since April 6

Updated testing numbers released by the Department of Health on Tuesday evening revealed that the percentage of positive cases in Kitsap County has held steady since the last update from the Kitsap Public Health District on April 6.

A total of 2,561 tests have been performed on Kitsap County residents with 2,430 returning negative and 132 positive, for a percentage of 5.1 percent. This remains in line with previous reports and is below the statewide average of 8.7 percent. One death has been reported in Kitsap.

Primary, urgent and emergency care visits for coronavirus-related illnesses have dropped off sharply as well since it peaked around March 15. Approximately 11 percent of positive cases have required hospitalization.

Here are Kitsap’s latest numbers:

  • Total tests: 2,561 (an increase of 617 since April 6)
  • Positive: 132 (an increase of 21 since April 6)
  • Negative: 2,430 (an increase of 590 since April 6)
  • Percent positive: 5.1
  • Hospitalizations: 11 percent
  • Deaths: 1

Washington state has been testing approximately 4,500 residents per day during the week and about 2,000 per day on weekends, said Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer for the Department of Health. The state now has 26 labs that can run the tests and can process over 14,000 samples per day.

Lofy said “hundreds of thousands” of test kits are expected to arrive in Washington over the next few weeks in order to increase the number of residents being tested — the goal is to test everyone with symptoms, including younger and healthier people.

With limited resources, testing has generally been reserved for health care workers, essential workers, older residents and those with underlying medical conditions. Kitsap County’s drive-up testing site in Bremerton recently expanded its criteria for who is eligible to be tested, but is not yet open to everyone with symptoms. 108 people were tested there during its initial three-day run last week.

“We need everyone to be tested right away so we can make sure they are remaining at home, identify their contacts and make sure they are remaining at home as well,” Lofy said.

Reporting delays at the state level

Although Kitsap Public Health District reports the number of negative tests and overall tests performed, that data is collected and disseminated by the state Department of Health.

The state had been dealing with several issues with its reporting system. Under normal circumstances, only positive cases of illnesses are collected in the state’s repository; but during a pandemic, the system receives both positive and negative results. The sheer number of reports overwhelmed the state’s system, necessitating a separate mechanism to handle the extra volume.

But positive reports go straight to KPHD, either from a lab or a health care provider, which is why the county is able to report those numbers daily — though because not every person with symptoms has been tested, this number may still not fully reflect the spread of the infection in Kitsap.

After a positive test is reported, health officials to immediately initiate an investigation, which includes interviewing the person with the confirmed case to identify anyone with whom they may have close contact during the time they were infectious. Close contacts are notified as quickly as possible and are told to stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to the person.

Recovery data is not available on a granular level; but because most people who contract COVID-19 do not have severe symptoms, recovery time is generally about two weeks. Those who have more severe symptoms may take three to six weeks, according to the World Health Organization.

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