OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Public Health reports eight new cases of COVID-19 in the county bringing the positive confirmed cases of the virus to 74.
“Based on public request, Okanogan County Public Health is beginning to report new cases by town, for the past week only,” said the agency.
The most recent cases were five in Brewster, two in Tonasket and one in Omak. There have been a total of 40 cases in south county (Pateros to south of Malott), 14 in Mid-County (Pateros to south of Malott, 11 on the Colville Reservation and five in North County (north of Riverside to Tonasket).
Of the 74 confirmed cases, there have been two deaths and 58 people are recovering. A total of 1922 samples have been sent for testing, with 1793 tests returning as negative and 55 pending.
The next COVID-19 Update will be Monday June 15, 2020. Case counts are updated daily Monday through Friday (except holidays) at: https://www.okanogandem.org/novel-coronavirus19-covid-19.
Okanogan County is currently in Phase 2 – more information: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business.
Contact tracing scams looking for critical information
Public health officials are rolling out COVID-19 contact tracing programs to help slow the spread of the disease by informing people who have had contact with someone who has tested positive. According the Better Business Bureau, scammers are finding nefarious ways to use these efforts for their personal gain.
How the Scam Works
You receive an unsolicited message via text, email, or a social media messenger. The message explains that you’ve come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The message instructs you to self-isolate and provides a link for more information. Alarmed, you are tempted to click and get more details. But don’t fall for it! These links can contain malware that downloads to your device.
Another version of this scam involves a robocall claiming to be part of “contact and tracing efforts.” Again, the call informs you that you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. After electing to speak to a representative, the “contact tracer” asks you to verify personal information. This starts with questions about your full name and date of birth, but can quickly move to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and/or financial accounts.
While Okanogan County Public Health contact traces will normally reach out by phone, be sure to hang up if the caller doesn’t meet the guidelines described below.
How to tell a real contact tracer from a scam:
- Contact tracers will ask you to confirm your identity, but not for financial information. Tracers will ask you to confirm your name, address, and date of birth. In most cases, they will already have this information on file. They will also ask about your current health, medical history, and recent travels. They will not ask for any government ID numbers or bank account details.
- Contact tracers will identify themselves: The call should start with the tracer providing their name and identifying themself as calling from Okanogan County Public Health. If you are uncertain if you are really speaking with an official contact tracer or a scammer, hang up at call Okanogan County Public Health at 509-422-7158 to confirm.
- Contact tracing is done by phone call. Be extra wary of social media messages or texts.
- Okanogan County Public Health will not send a link via text or email without first speaking with you.
Washington Families Get Help to Buy Food During School Closures
From the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services:
Because schools have been closed due to COVID-19, families in Washington state will soon have food benefits available to them to help buy groceries while children have been home from school. Called Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, these food benefits are available to families with children in grades K-12 who are eligible for schools’ free or reduced-price meal programs. The Public Charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits and will not impact immigration status.
Most families who already receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, also known as SNAP or Basic Food in Washington State, and whose children already receive free or reduced-price meals do not need to apply. The P-EBT benefits – a one-time amount up to $399 per eligible child in each household – automatically will be deposited onto existing EBT cards in early July.
Other families, including those whose children attend a school where meals are free for all students, will need to apply. Families with children who are newly eligible for free or reduced-price school meals must fill out a meal application with their school district before June 30 and before they apply for P-EBT.
Families with children who are eligible and approved by their school district for free or reduced-price meals and who do not currently get Basic Food benefits, must apply online at washingtonconnection.org for P-EBT before August 31 or the start of the 2020-2021 school year—whichever is later. The website is available in English and Spanish.
Families who prefer to apply by phone, who need an interpreter or who have other questions about P-EBT benefits can call the DSHS Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (except observed holidays).
Washington State Department of Health Call Center 1-800-525-0127 Press # after the prompt
Education & Information www.doh.wa.gov/emergencies/coronavirus.
Text the word “coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on your phone
Okanogan County Alerts Sign up for alerts like these from Emergency Management at: https://www.okanogandem.org.