County’s virus impact tally rises
SNOHOMISH — Five deaths linked to COVID-19 are on the Snohomish Health District’s count as of March 17.
The first death in Snohomish County was a man in his 40s with underlying health conditions hospitalized in Kirkland for an illness triggered by COVID-19.
The county has 266 confirmed cases with 251 contracted through community contact as of 2 p.m. March 17, with 22 cases tracing to Life-Care Center in Kirkland and 13 cases tracing to Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood; 49 are hospitalized and 48 are on home isolation.
On March 11, the World Health Organization upgraded COVID-19 from an outbreak to a pandemic.Even those who are well should heed health advice to avoid spreading the illness. The virus spreads through droplets from people coughing or sneezing. It is possible that it can survive on a surface for several days, The Washington Post reported, but data is still being collected as COVID-19 is monitored by health officials.
Officials recommend people wash hands regularly, sanitize frequently used surfaces, and choose to avoid unnecessary gatherings, particularly for groups larger than 50. For now, if you have mild symptoms of cough and fever, stay home and stay away from people to avoid spreading the virus.
The health district updates its COVID-19 data at 2 p.m. daily. Officials are advising use of telework and some officials are using remote-meeting tools to avoid spreading illness. To protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19, follow all standard advice issued during flu-season: wash hands, avoid coughing openly, stay home when sick, call first before visiting medical facilities for non-serious illnesses.
No vaccine is available yet for COVID-19 and treatments are supportive. Serious illnesses triggered by that and other illnesses such as a cold or flu can include pneumonia, which is a secondary infection. Untreated pneumonia is always dangerous and can cause death.
The higher level of caution for COVID-19 as compared to the flu and other infectious diseases is due to the unknown, as the illness spreads and data is collected for officials to make evidence-based decisions.
Vaccines and treatments are currently being tested. The World Health Organization says multiple vaccines are being studied.
Risk groups for serious illness are still those over 60 and people with underlying health conditions. Underlying conditions that increase risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. King County Public Health advises that those sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath who are in a high risk group, call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be tested. King County has 37 deaths and 420 cases linked to COVID-19 confirmed as of 11:59 p.m. March 14.
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