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Cowlitz County virus cases reach 101; ilani employee tests positive

Cowlitz County virus cases reach 101; ilani employee tests positive

The Novel Coronavirus

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Cowlitz County hit a coronavirus milestone Friday when it recorded its 100th and 101st cases, with the two new infections bringing this week’s total to 24.

As of Friday, 68 of the county’s patients were considered recovered. That’s most of the cases recorded in the county up until two weeks ago, and the county still has not had a coronavirus-related death.

Nevertheless about a quarter of all county COVID-19 case have been documented in just this week. Medical conditions of the new cases were not immediately available.

The Cowlitz Tribe’s ilani casino in Clark County confirmed Friday that one of its employees, a Cowlitz County resident, tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Cowlitz COVID-19 Incident Management Team press release.

The Cowlitz Indian tribe’s casino resort reopened more than two weeks ago after a 70-day closure due to the pandemic.

The employee is in isolation and the county health department is working with the casino to notify all of the employee’s close contacts, according to the press release. Close contacts will be asked to quarantine for 14 days. The investigation is ongoing.

If health officials believe there is a risk to the public who visited ilani, they will announce that, the press release said. State and county health officials don’t have the authority to order the casino to close or to require additional measures because ilani is on tribal land and the tribe is a sovereign nation, according to the press release.

A county Board of Health meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning to consider applying for Phase 3. Officials on Thursday postponed plans to apply on Saturday when the county becomes eligible.

Moving forward on the application is still dependent on virus activity over the weekend and what progress is made on case investigations, said Ralph Herrera, IMT spokesman.

The Phase 3 application requires a recommendation from the county health officer and approval from the Board of Health commissioners (which are the same as the county commissioners in Cowlitz.)

Along with the rate of cases, the state will also consider the trend in hospitalizations, health care system readiness, testing capacity and availability, case and contact investigation capability and the ability to respond to outbreaks.

At least nine of this week’s cases are linked to an outbreak at Pacific Crest Building Supply in Ridgefield, according to health officials.

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