Fifth COVID-19 case in Kittitas County brings new measures

Bailey Tomlinson, News Editor

A fifth patient has tested positive for COVID-19 in Kittitas County, according to a press release from the Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) on March 23.

The patient is a 59-year-old male who’s in stable condition. The press release states his family members are sick as well, but did not specify if they were being tested.

KCPHD will no longer be releasing information on new confirmed cases.

“With community spread, positive test results will be more common and not everyone from the general public will be tested for COVID-19,” Kittitas Valley Healthcare Health Officer Dr. Mark Larson said. 

Community spread is when “people have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected,” according to a March 18 KCPHD press release.

COVID-19 testing will be prioritized for those who are high risk, healthcare workers or individuals designated by the health officer. 

All Kittitas County residents have been asked by KCPHD to stay at home and to prepare for increasing restrictions. 

KCPHD Public Information Officer Kasey Knutson said increased restrictions would be reflective of preventative steps surrounding counties are taking. This follows the March 22 decision by the Yakima County Health District requiring all Yakima County residents to stay at home. 

Exceptions include essential travel such as getting medicine, seeing a doctor and going to the grocery store, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

If you are experiencing symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath and are not a member of the high risk population, KCPHD recommends staying home, drinking fluids, resting and taking acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in several over-the-counter pain medications, including Tylenol.

If you are a member of the high risk population and are experiencing symptoms, KCPHD recommends the Kittitas Valley Healthcare COVID-19 Clinic at (509) 933-8850, or contacting your healthcare provider.