County reports 74 cases in a week

Grays Harbor health officials identified 74 cases of Covid-19 in the week following Aug. 17, the health department said Tuesday. Four more were reported Wednesday.

About half the cases were attributed to outbreaks at two businesses, but the department would not identify the businesses, say where they are located or what types of businesses they are.

“Our team felt like there was no public exposure within those businesses,” said Nick Falley, working as a public information officer for the county’s Covid response team. “If we felt like there was an immediate risk to the public, we would go public” with information about the businesses.

Asked if health officials looked at whether proper health and safety protocols were followed at the businesses, Falley said field inspections were done but he hadn’t seen the report.

He said the outbreaks seem to be contained to employees of the businesses and said the businesses were “cooperating with public health completely.”

On Friday the health department set up a mobile testing facility in the parking lot at the Washington Crab processing plant in Westport. The tests weren’t for the general public. A call to the plant was referred to its corporate headquarters, but there was no response from the company.

Some contact investigations are still pending, but so far about 10% of the 74 new cases in the past week have no known source of exposure, the county’s announcement said.

Even apart from the two outbreaks, more than 35 cases in the past week is an indication that community transmission is still on an upward trend in the county, probably because people are still taking part in social gatherings and are lax about public health recommendations to stay home and avoid gatherings, Falley said.

Beginning in February, the county has now identified 222 cases as of just before midnight on Tuesday. Almost one-third are Hispanic.

The county attributes Covid-19 as a factor in five deaths in the county. According to state statistics, which vary slightly from the county’s in terms of total cases, the rate of death in Grays Harbor County from reported cases is 2.3 percent. The state says 6,097 tests have been performed in the county.