Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical extracellular viral particles contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. (Image provided by the Centers for Disease Control)

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical extracellular viral particles contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. (Image provided by the Centers for Disease Control)

Jefferson County man contracts COVID-19

Health officer: Case does not represent evidence of community-level transmission on Peninsula

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PORT TOWNSEND — A Jefferson County man has been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.

The man is in his 60s and received care at a Seattle-area hospital before being discharged to recover in his Jefferson County home, the county public health department said in a press release today.

The test result was from a specimen obtained Monday. The initial exposure to COVID-19 was likely during a visit to a family member in Kirkland, where community-level transmission is occurring, said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

He had spent time in Jefferson and Clallam counties during the early stages of his illness, Locke said, adding that potential contacts are being notified and advised about what precautions they should take.

“We do not believe this case represents evidence of community-level transmission of COVID-19 on the Olympic Peninsula,” Locke said in the release.

Most of those who contract the virus have mild common cold-like symptoms or may have no signs of illness at all, the health department said.

About 20 percent have more severe influenza-like illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Of these, some will develop severe illness requiring hospitalization and advanced medical care.

There is no antiviral medication available to treat it, although several drugs are being tried experimentally for hospitalized patients.

Treatment for the non-critically ill involves rest, fluids and symptomatic treatment (fever reducers, cough medicines). Most people can be treated at home and recover within one to two weeks.

The virus is spread the same way as the influenza virus by what is known as “droplet transmission.”

Those at greatest risk of COVID-19 complications are people over age 60, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

People with known COVID-19 infection who do not need hospitalization are being isolated in their homes for the duration of their illness and those who have had significant exposures to confirmed COVID-19 cases during the infectious period are being placed in a modified home quarantine for 14 days after their last exposure.

These people should not go to work or school and should avoid public places for the duration of their quarantine. If illness does not develop in this two-week period, infection is highly unlikely.

Residents are urged to avoid public gatherings and certain other activities in the Seattle area.

Guidelines are available on the Jefferson County Public Health website at www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org, on the Clallam County Health Department website at www.clallam.net and on the state Department of Health website at www.doh.wa.gov.

A Jefferson Healthcare nurse consult line for COVID-19 and respiratory illness is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at 360-344-3094.

A Clallam County COVID-19 hotline is available at 360-417-2430.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 on the Peninsula, visit www.peninsuladailynews.com/tag/coronavirus.

Jefferson County man contracts COVID-19

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