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COVID-19 Update: no confirmed local cases in Grays Harbor, but caution is urged

There are still no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Grays Harbor, but local health officials are urging residents to act as if there were.

In a media session Monday, Grays Harbor Public Health & Social Services Director Karolyn Holden and lPublic Information Officer for COVID-19 response Brianne Probasco spoke and said that results for the two local residents under testing have not yet returned.

They said that with the number of samples being sent to labs, the results have been delayed. They say that the local residents did have underlying health factors that could have contributed to their chances of contracting a virus. The local results are anticipated early this week.

In their update, they reiterated procedures that residents can take to try and prevent illness from spreading in general, saying that many of these updates are the same for other viruses as well. The difference with COVID-19 being that there is still no vaccine or cure for the strain.

Holden said that the statewide counts of illnesses is adjusting rapidly, and there is evidence that the virus is spreading in some communities in Washington. She says that there are also other viruses that can cause respiratory illness spreading, including influenza.

The local health department says that more cases of COVID-19 are anticipated in the weeks to come.

Residents can work to prevent contracting and spreading COVID-19 by taking additional steps with their health routines;

Like other coronaviruses, health experts believe it spreads from an infected person to others through:

    • the air by coughing and sneezing
    • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
    • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
    • in rare cases, contact with feces

How can I avoid getting COVID-19?

    • wash hands often with soap and water (if not available, use hand sanitizer)
    • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
    • avoid contact with people who are sick

If you are traveling overseas follow the CDC’s guidance: www.cdc.gov/travel.

Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus infections.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

You should stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others. Cover your mouth /nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

The care for COVID-19 is the same as for other respiratory illnesses:

    • drink plenty of fluids
    • rest
    • take pain and fever medications as needed

If you need medical support, contact your regular doctor first. Do not go to the emergency room unless you need immediate medical intervention. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.

There are no medications specifically approved for treating COVID-19, so there is no reason to get tested for COVID-19 unless you are seriously ill and your health care provider requests it.

Frequently updated local information on COVID-19 can be found at http://www.healthygh.org/covid19

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