Post Date: 03/08/2020 8:50 AM
Pierce County has four presumed positive test results for COVID-19. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is still learning more about the patients and who may have come into contact with them in this ongoing case investigation.
The University of Washington conducted the tests, which are presumed positive until the Washington State Public Health Laboratory confirms them. Only the Health Department can release information on confirmed positive cases.
“We have been expecting to see positive cases of COVID-19 in our community,” said Director of Health Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH. “With expanded testing capacity, it is likely we will see more cases in the coming weeks. Public health works every day to identify, track, and follow up on cases of potential disease exposure to limit the spread and protect community health,” Chen said.
Each disease investigation is unique
Currently, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department does not broadly recommend that organizations cancel public gatherings, keep people who are not sick home from work or close schools. As a part of its ongoing work to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County, the Health Department will provide specific guidance to any government entity, organization, business or school based on possible disease exposure risk, when a disease investigation warrants.
Am I at risk?
The current risk of COVID-19 in Washington is increasing. Public health is identifying more positive cases of the disease in the state. These new cases suggest the disease is spreading in Washington. As we test more people, we expect to find more positive cases. Only the Health Department can confirm positive cases. People most at risk traveled out of the country to an affected area and have symptoms:
- Shortness of breath.
If you think you were at risk of exposure to COVID-19, call ahead before you go to your healthcare provider, urgent care, or the emergency department.
What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?
Currently, no vaccine exists for COVID-19. You can take steps to protect yourself and people around you from this and other diseases:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are sick.
It’s cold and flu season. These more common respiratory illnesses have affected our communities—especially the flu. So far this season, 10 adults and two children have died from flu-related complications. The flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. It’s not too late to get your flu shot. Learn more at www.tpchd.org/flu.
What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses aren’t new. They form a large family of viral illnesses that includes the common cold. Experts have not previously identified the coronavirus in the current outbreak. We continue to learn more about it.
How do coronaviruses spread?
The most common ways human coronaviruses spread:
- Coughing and sneezing.
- Contact with a sick person—within 6 feet—for 10 minutes or more.
- Contact with an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
Diseases can affect anyone
The Health Department is your source for reliable local public health information. Make sure you seek out and share accurate information related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Diseases can affect anyone and don’t discriminate or stop at city, county, or international borders. COVID-19 may have originated abroad, but not everyone from parts of the world with increased risk has the disease or was potentially exposed to it. Remember to:
- Rely on and share trusted sources of information about the outbreak.
- Avoid comments that unfairly label, harass, or spread misinformation.
Find updated information about COVID-19 and our sharable infographic at www.tpchd.org/coronavirus.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website will be updated daily by 2 p.m. with any new cases received through 11:59 p.m. the previous day.
About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment to protect public health. We are one of roughly 244 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.