Wednesday, July 8, 2020
July 8, 2020

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Clark County more than doubles COVID-19 cases, reports fifth death

Public Health confirms 28 new cases

By , Columbian staff writer

As the United States shot into first place for the most COVID-19 cases in the world Thursday, Clark County Public Health confirmed 28 new cases, more than doubling the local total. One local death was reported by Clark County Public Health.

Clark County now has confirmed 48 cases of COVID-19, accounting for five deaths.

Washington reported a 24 percent rise in cases from Wednesday. The state now has 3,207 confirmed cases, according to the Washington Department of Health.

“Two factors are likely contributing to this increase in cases,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and public health director. “First, we’re able to identify more cases because testing is available to more people than it was a few weeks ago. Second, the disease is spreading more in our community. We don’t know which is the bigger factor for the increase.”

The most recent resident to succumb is a man in his 80s, who was hospitalized and had no contact with a confirmed case.

Seven of the new patients are in their 50s, six are in their 60s and five are in their 40s. There are four cases involving people in their 70s and four in their 30s. One new patient is in their 20s, and one new patient is older than 90.

Details about how many of the new cases have been hospitalized, or had contact with other confirmed cases, are not available at this time. Public Health is investigating the new confirmed cases to find close contacts.

The 28 positive test results came from a variety of health care providers and laboratories, according to Public Health. Clark County does not currently have outbreaks at any long-term care facilities, according to the news release.

The specimens for these results were collected in the previous two to 10 days. Lab turnaround time for testing varies.

The county has been notified of 434 negative tests, which means Clark County received more than 100 test results Thursday. Clark County now has the eighth-largest case count in the state.

Testing has been slow to increase in Clark County due to a lack of testing supplies, but Melnick told the Clark County Board of Health on Wednesday that the county’s two hospitals are seeing a sizable increase in patients with symptoms consistent with either COVID-19 or more common diseases such as the flu. That could be an indicator that local cases will continue to rise.

“It’s kind of like the calm before the storm,” Melnick said.

With more confirmed cases, Clark County and Washington are beginning to get an outline of who has been most affected by the virus so far. Eleven of Clark County’s cases are people in their 40s. More than half are between ages 30 and 59. All five deaths have been of people 70 and older.

In Washington, nearly 80 percent of the deaths have been people 70 and older. Another 13 percent of the deaths have occurred among people in their 60s. The state has tested more than 46,000 people.

The United States slid past 81,000 confirmed positive cases Thursday, and now has more reported cases than any other country. There have been more than 519,000 tests conducted in the U.S., according to the COVID Tracking Project. More than 10,000 people in the U.S. have been hospitalized for the virus, and more than 1,000 people have died.