Over the weekend, PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center announced its first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a patient. This case is a Lewis County resident.
The Cowlitz County Health & Human Services (CCHHS) communicable disease team is monitoring the situation very closely by working with other public health partners and jurisdictions. Healthcare providers, including PeaceHealth, have protocols in place to keep patients, families and caregivers safe. This includes screening protocols to quickly identify those who may be at risk for COVID-19 so proper precautions can be in place upon patient arrival. No additional exposure risks have been identified at this time. The community will be notified as soon as possible of any exposure that may have occurred.
Because of the fast moving nature of the situation in the State of Washington, it is recommended that the public watch for official statements from Governor Jay Inslee regarding protections against COVID-19. CCHHS will also share information on its Facebook page and website when available www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/COVID-19
On Sunday, the governor announced that he would be signing a statewide emergency proclamation to temporarily shut down restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities. In his statement he indicated that restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out and delivery services but no in-person dining will be permitted. CCHHS will be working with licensed food facilities in Cowlitz County as the situation evolves.
The governor further stated: “The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies. Other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy. Additionally, all gatherings with over 50 participants are prohibited and all gatherings under 50 participants are prohibited unless previously announced criteria for public health and social distancing are met.”
There are many everyday practices to aid in preventing colds, influenza and other respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. Cowlitz County Health and Human Services continues to urge people to take the following actions to keep themselves healthy:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Stay home and away from others when sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
A Washington call center can answer questions about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), how it spreads and what to do if you have symptoms. Call 1-800-525-0127 and press #