Need more info from local health officials

There has been so much conflicting information regarding Covid-19 and downright misinformation, that true facts would be appreciated by all. Unfortunately I don’t see that changing on a national level anytime soon. Even the CDC, once a highly regarded institution with world-wide acceptance, has seemed to have its press releases distorted by politics.

I find myself narrowing my focus to the local level as a lonely hope for fact-based information that affects my life. What can keep us safer in Grays Harbor County besides washing hands, masks, blah, blah, blah? Knowledge based on facts collected by the Grays Harbor County Health Department and Covid-19 Task Force.

For weeks we have little information revealed under the guise of privacy constraints. Yet, Thurston County has been reporting cases by zip codes for weeks with no repercussions. A review of different health departments around the county report much more detailed facts.

I realize that money and staffing are real constraints and that the health department is starting to release more details. However, rather than stating that last weeks infections included exposures at one private party and one private campground give us more details. Were these attended only by Grays Harbor residents or was a visiting out of county person responsible for the spread? What were the general ages of the attendees of the party? What was the general location of this party and campground? East County, North County, Aberdeen/Hoquiam? What are the number of infections from the two clusters?

Of the 75 cases in the county where are the emerging hotspots? This is vital information for the debate on opening schools in a few weeks and information that teachers and school employees would love to have for basing personal decisions.

What are the occupations of the unlucky Grays Harbor residents? Health care workers, store clerk, truck driver does not violate HIPPA standards, but gives us an idea of the current risk factor for local occupations and would enhance safety precautions rather than diminish.

It is always easier to implement another agency’s work example. If a model is needed to release more information, take a look at the Minnesota Department of Health web site.

Chuck McDonnell