A man in his 70s has become Clark County’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient.
Clark County Public Health released the confirmation Friday night.
The patient had been receiving treatment in isolation at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, pending test results, and remains in isolation at the hospital, according to PeaceHealth.
Public Health identified “a small number” of people who had close contact with the man, according to a press release issued Saturday morning. Those individuals are instructed to stay home for 14 days since their last contact with him. The man did not recently travel to a country where COVID-19 is spreading, suggesting the virus is circulating in Clark County, according to Public Health.
The department had been awaiting results on nine tests referred to a laboratory for testing. Five results are still pending. Three tests were negative for coronavirus. Five other people, all recent travelers to areas with outbreaks, are under public health supervision.
Public Health is not announcing public locations the man visited, unlike during last year’s measles outbreak. COVID-19 is spread through close contact, within 6 feet, and via respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. Unlike with measles, which is airborne and can linger for several hours, listing places where someone with COVID-19 has visited is not effective.
“Without close contact with an infected person, you are at extremely low risk of contracting COVID-19,”said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and public health director.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
If you experience mild symptoms, stay home while ill. Do not go to work, school or public areas. If you need medical care, call your provider in advance so the medical office can take steps to prevent exposing others.
If you have symptoms but have not been around anyone with COVID-19, the likelihood that you have COVID-19 is low. These symptoms are similar to symptoms caused by other respiratory illnesses circulating in our community, including influenza.
There currently is no specific treatment for COVID-19.
Those who have questions about COVID-19 can call The Washington State Department of Health novel coronavirus call center 6 am to 10 pm daily at 800-525-0127.
The Clark County Public Health novel coronavirus webpage has additional information about the virus, what’s happening in Clark County and how people can protect themselves from illness.