Nine more county residents claimed by virus

Nine new deaths from COVID-19 bring the number of total fatalities in county to 53

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OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Public Health announced Monday that nine more county residents had died from COVID-19 within the past two weeks.

“Okanogan County Public Health is deeply saddened to report nine additional Okanogan County residents who died of confirmed COVID-19 disease. We extend our condolences to the family and community members who were close to them. These deaths bring the total Okanogan County confirmed COVID-19 related deaths to 53,” writes Public Health in a press release Monday, Sept. 27.

According to the release, five of the fatalities were males, two in their sixties and three in their seventies. Four of those that died were females, one in her forties and three in their seventies.

The Washington State Department of Health defines a COVID-19 death as a death occurring among those who have a positive COVID-19 test and the death certificate must also include COVID-19 or COVID-like terms (such as respiratory distress, pneumonia, respiratory failure, hypoxia, viral illness, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS – with no other strain specified) as a cause or contributing factor to the death. It does not include those who die in a homicide, suicide, or accident, with the exception of accidental deaths that explicitly list COVID-19 on the death certificate.

“Okanogan County Public Health would like to remind everyone of the importance of all public health precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone can have COVID-19 and not know they are contagious. COVID-19 is easily spread to close contacts, friends, family and loved ones before a person knows they are unintentionally spreading the virus. Please do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to social distance and wearing a mask in indoor public spaces,” Public Health said Monday.

Okanogan County Public Health delays the announcement of COVID-19 associated deaths to give families time to notify their loved ones.

“We also verify COVID-19 is listed as a cause of death on the death certificate to ensure we are not reporting deaths that are not attributed to COVID-19. All deaths of Okanogan County residents reported here are attributed to COVID-19 and were verified with the death certificate, testing and other case information,” writes Public Health.