COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
OKANOGAN – The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 continues to climb in Okanogan County, with 51 new cases in Brewster alone over the three-day period between July 24 and July 26, according to Okanogan County Public Health.
Brewster leads the county in people who have tested positive for the Coronavirus since testing started in the county, with 404 and Omak is next highest with 80.
During the same three-day period, a total of 84 people were found to be positive, Omak had 15 people test positive, followed by Pateros, 11; Tonasket and Okanogan, three each and Malott, one. No new cases were reported in Oroville, Riverside, Carlton, Nespelem, Twisp and Winthrop, according to Public Health’s report on Monday, July 27.
Okanogan County has had a total of 635 people test positive for the virus, 401 of those in the previous 14 days of the July 27 report. After Brewster and Omak, the largest total number of positive cases have been in Pateros with 37, followed by Tonasket, 30; Okanogan, 26; Malott, 18; Oroville, 14; Nespelem, 10; Winthrop, five; Carlton and Riverside, four each and Twisp, one. Two people were listed as the town being “unidentified” in the report.
The agency is also now reporting the age range of those who have been confirmed to have gotten the virus. The majority of people, 250, are in the 20-39 age range. The second highest group is in people 40 to 59 with 183. Next are those from age 0 to 19, with 121 and those ages 60 to 79 have had 78 positive test results. The number of those ages 80 plus, was three.
Under “COVID-19 Cases by Gender,” males accounted for 320 of the people testing positive and females, 272. Forty-three people were listed as “unknown.”
The agency also stated, “A surge in COVID-19 cases is leading to a delay in local data on COVID-19 test results. To connect our community with information as quickly as possible, we are now reporting data directly from Washington State. You might notice a slight difference between the data previously reported and the data we are now sharing.
“Given the increased volume in testing, we are not able to report total negative tests, total tests and pending tests at this time,” said the agency, adding that they are also unable to reliably report on how many county residents have been hospitalized due to the virus.
The agency says that individuals who have passed away are counted in the Confirmed Positive Case counts if they were tested in Okanogan County. So far the total number of COVID-19 associated deaths is five in the county.
“Public Health delays the announcement of COVID-19 associated deaths in order to give families time to notify their loved ones. We also verify COVID-19 is listed on the death certificate to ensure we are not reporting deaths that are not attributed to COVID-19. All attributed deaths of Okanogan County residents are attributed to COVID-19 and were verified with the death certificate, testing and other case information.”
Public Health considers all cases reported within the past 14 days to be active cases. They base that on isolation and quarantine guidelines, along with the most current understanding of the infectious period.
“It is important to note that this is an approximation as there are some individuals with COVID-19 who experience severe symptoms for much longer than 14 days and would still be considered an active case,” they say.
While the agency used to report recovered cases, they no longer do so since it is “difficult to define a point of recovered for COVID-19 cases because the recovery process from COVID-19 varies widely and can be very long (from weeks to months). Many people have improvement of symptoms and complete their isolation period but still experience lingering symptoms, such as fatigue, making it very difficult to determine the number of recovered cases. We know this is an important number, but we must prioritize with follow-up with active cases in isolation and those in quarantine.”
For more see this Thursday’s print edition of the Gazette-Tribune.