Recent COVID-19 bump is ‘still very manageable’

Some of the most recent cases have been family clusters.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Island County may have had a small spike recently, but county officials see no cause for alarm.

The number of reported cases totaled 274 on Thursday, Sept. 10. As of Thursday, Sept. 17, that number was 286, according to Island County Public Health Director Keith Higman.

“We did have a really quiet couple of weeks with not much activity,” he said.

Some of the most recent cases have been “family clusters,” which Higman describes as one person in a family testing positive for the virus and then infecting their family members.

One of those families, Higman said, traveled to Eastern Washington. He advises people to limit their traveling and the size of congregations at this time.

Higman referred to the amount of cases in Island County as “still very manageable.

“If you look at the numbers across our geography, our cases … are much lower than any of the counties around us.”

Currently, Island County has a rate of 8.3 per 100,000 of newly diagnosed cases over two weeks. This meets a key metric, or goal, of less than 25.

Over the past month, there was an adjustment to the way the state Department of Health calculates negative test results for the virus. Higman explained the state Department of Health is not limiting one test result to one name anymore in its collection of data, in the case of people who are tested more than once for the virus.

He added the Navy is now reporting its negative test data to the state Department of Health.

At this point, it is still too early to tell what effect, if any, the opening of Island County schools to face-to-face learning will have on the total number of COVID-19 cases.

The public health department worked closely with Oak Harbor Public Schools on their reopening plan, and Higman says the system is closely being monitored.

“I don’t know what the fall is going to bring,” Higman said.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed.”

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