Submitted by Thurston County
As of May 29, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) confirmed the first COVID-19 outbreak in residents and staff at two separate long-term care facilities. The cases are connected by a COVID-19 positive staff person who works in both facilities. An outbreak is defined as two or more linked cases.
Thurston County Public Health Disease Investigators found the first two cases at Olympics West Retirement Inn. The individuals became ill at the same time, indicating they were exposed by someone else who may have been asymptomatic. Investigators are continuing to work to identify the source of the outbreak. Several staff members at this facility also reported symptoms consistent with COVID-19. All symptomatic and COVID-19 positive individuals were ordered to isolate and the rest of the individuals at the facility were ordered to quarantine and undergo immediate testing.
Thurston County Public Health and Social Services staff visited the facility and tested 139 residents and 62 staff on May 27, and May 28. Test results are expected soon and will be available on the PHSS COVID-19 Data Webpage at: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/covid-19-data.aspx. Investigators expect to repeat testing next week.
During the investigation, PHSS has learned that the COVID-19 positive staff person from Olympics West Retirement Inn also worked in a small local adult family home. PHSS contact tracers contacted the adult family home and learned that a resident there had developed symptoms. The resident tested positive on May 28, making this the 3rd confirmed case to date and the adult family home as Thurston County’s second congregate care setting outbreak. The name of the adult family home is not being released until the facility has had the opportunity to notify potentially impacted families.
“Unfortunately, we do anticipate more cases,” said Thurston County Health Officer, Dr. Diana Yu. “While we had hoped not to see any outbreaks like this in our community, it is something we are prepared to handle. We are taking all the necessary actions to test, contact trace, quarantine, and isolate, as appropriate. This is a good reminder that community transmission is still happening and we need to take precautions to prevent exposures. If you are symptomatic, you should immediately isolate and get tested as soon as possible.”
Test results from both facilities are anticipated in the next few days. PHSS is working closely with both facilities to monitor ill residents in isolation while protecting uninfected residents. PHSS continues to investigate both outbreaks. New details and information are expected to emerge over the next days and weeks.
For information and resources on the COVID-19 in Thurston County, visit the Thurston County PHSS Coronavirus webpage at: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/coronavirus.aspx, or follow the Thurston County Public Health Facebook or Twitter pages (@ThurstonHealth).
People with symptoms like a fever, cough, and trouble breathing should call ahead to their health care provider for guidance. Early symptoms may be extreme fatigue, and new loss of taste or smell. Testing is also available through the Providence Medical Group drive-through testing site in Lacey for people who do not have a health care provider, and who have symptoms of COVID-19. More information about this service is available through Providence St. Peter’s call line at: 360-486-6800.