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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 26, 2020
Gabrielle Byrne, Public Information Specialist (360) 867-2514 or byrneg@co.thurston.wa.us 
Meghan Porter, Public Information Supervisor 360-867-2097 or Meghan.porter@co.thurston.wa.us 

Public Health Confirms Ten New Cases of COVID-19 in Thurston County
Health officials say these are cases from two weeks ago, prior to social distancing restrictions

OLYMPIA – Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) has confirmed ten new cases of COVID-19, totaling 24 confirmed cases in Thurston County, as of 3:00 p.m., March 26, 2020. For an age group and gender breakdown, visit: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

Thurston County Health Officer, Dr. Diana Yu, said in response to the increase in cases, “I really want to thank those who have taken social distancing seriously and are practicing the restrictions that have been put into place.” She said, “We expected to see a slight jump in cases as these individuals would have been exposed two weeks ago, before the restrictions were put in place. We are also seeing more positives because there is more capacity for testing in our community.” 

“We knew this was in our community,” said Yu. “The increase in testing just confirms this and gives us a better picture of what is occurring.” 

Dr. Yu is also reminding people to practice social distancing to help protect themselves and their loved ones. This includes reinforcing to children the importance of social distancing. This age group may not show symptoms but are a vector for the virus and can pass it on to the high-risk population.   

Director of Emergency Services, Kurt Hardin added, "We are asking people to practice social distancing to not only protect themselves and their families, but to protect our local healthcare providers and first responders as well." He said, "We need to do our part to keep our paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters healthy so they can continue their important job of responding to emergencies in our community."  

People with symptoms like a fever and cough should self-isolate to decrease exposure to others. If people have trouble breathing or need medical care, they should call ahead to their health care provider for guidance. Those at highest risk for severe illness include older adults, pregnant women, and people who are immunocompromised or have chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. To reduce the potential spread of the virus, we’re asking people to call ahead to their healthcare providers and not go directly to the emergency room or urgent care. Those with medical emergencies should still call 911. 

The State Department of Health has set up a hotline for questions and concerns that is staffed seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. That number is: 1-800-525-0127.

To learn more about the COVID-19 outbreak and find answers to some frequently asked questions, visit the Thurston County PHSS Coronavirus webpage at: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3