Thurston County maintains low transmission rate of COVID-19 infection

Sophia Kobernusz-Gibbs, Staff Writer 

Thurston County was approved for Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan on June 24. Phase 3 allows outdoor sports activities and recreational facilities with half capacity, permittance of all non-essential travel, and the opening of most businesses and events with capacity restrictions. However, no sporting events or nightclub activities are permitted. Shortly after allowing Thurston County to enter Phase 3, Gov. Jay Inslee halted all proceedings of continuing to Phase 4 across the state as cases began to rise. 

Coming up on 13 weeks since Thurston County was approved for Phase 3, the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services reported one death during the week of Sept. 20th to the 26th, with a total of 17 deaths throughout the entire pandemic in Thurston County. There have been 84 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 from Sept. 22nd to 28th. There have been a total of 1,224 confirmed and diagnosed COVID-19 cases, with 990 reaching the recovery phase. 

The Thurston County Public Health and Social Services department releases a weekly update on COVID-19 positive cases, COVID-related deaths, outbreaks, and the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. On Sept. 20th, it stated that two percent of tests came back positive out of 40,843 tests. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states: “Nationally, the percentage of respirator specimens testing for positive for SARS-CoV-2 decreased from 5.1% during week 37 to 4.8% during week 38.” Thurston County has a lower transmission rate.

In a non-healthcare facility, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services defines an outbreak as: “Two or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 Cases with at least one case classified as confirmed and at least two of the cases have symptom onset dates within 14 days of each other, AND plausible epidemiological evidence of transmission  in a shared location other than a household is observed.” There have been 10 total outbreaks in Thurston County during this pandemic. 

Since Saint Martin’s resides within Thurston County, the campus community accounts for one positive COVID-19 case that occurred over a week ago with over 500 negative tests. This is a 0.2 percent transmission rate. 

The Office of Insurance Commissioner released a statement on their website on Sept. 25. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kredler extended “his order requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for coronavirus.” Kredler also extended his order on protecting consumers from surprise lab fees due to COVID-19 testing. 

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