Another death due to COVID-19 was reported in Clark County on Friday, bringing the toll thus far to six.
Also, another 28 tests returned positive for the communicable disease. Since the first local case was confirmed on March 7, a total of 76 people have been positively diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. On Wednesday, the number of positive diagnoses was 20.
Another 653 tests have returned negative for the virus, which shares symptoms with other common illnesses such as flu.
Clark County Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick said Thursday that the number of confirmed cases is on the rise for two reasons. First, more tests are available for people who show symptoms of the virus, and the results of previously administered tests are being received. And second, it is likely that more disease transmission is occurring.
Public health officials are warning people to stay home this weekend, except for essential trips to buy food or medicine. People should avoid getting together with friends or congregating in outdoor locations.
Last weekend, beautiful weather lured people outdoors, creating crowds at popular spots such as Beacon Rock State Park. That park is closed this weekend, along with many other popular recreation sites, and the weather forecast is much less favorable, calling for rain showers and highs in the 50s.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Of the six people who have died in Clark County, five were age 80 or older, and the sixth victim was in his 70s. Four of the victims were men.
Although much more lethal among the elderly, the disease strikes people young and old. Of the local confirmed cases, more than half have been people in their 40s, 50s or 60s.
In Washington, there have been 3,700 confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19, accounting for 175 deaths, according to statistics provided Friday afternoon by the Washington Department of Health.