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Cowlitz health officials: No new COVID-19 cases, 79 negative tests

Cowlitz health officials: No new COVID-19 cases, 79 negative tests

Cowlitz County had no new confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday, but for the first time health officials released the number of negative test results received in the county so far — 79.

Cowlitz County Health and Human Services announced Tuesday it will report the number of positive and negative results in the county daily.

The county had three confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday — a woman in her 30s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 70s. The woman is recovering at home and the men were both treated in isolation at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center and released home.

A Longview Salvation Army volunteer came into contact with the woman, said Christine Schott, chair of the Salvation Army local advisory board on Monday. Salvation Army public relations did not return requests for comment on the situation on Monday and Tuesday. So it still is unknown how long, or whether, the volunteer may have worked at the nonprofit after coming into contract with the COVID-19 patient. Local Salvation Army personnel have declined to disclose further details.

The health department, in accordance with patient privacy and confidentiality, will only release information stating that case is a Cowlitz County resident, not the patient’s city of residence, according to the press release.

“People should assume that the virus can be in any public location,” Steven Krager, county deputy health officer, said in a health department release. “Naming locations that a COVID-19 patient spent time in could give people false reassurance if they did not spend time in those locations.”

Public health officials identify and contact individuals coming into close personal contact with those who test positive for COVID-19. Close contacts will be instructed to stay home for 14 days after their last interactions with the confirmed cases, according to the department.

“There are likely more cases in Cowlitz County that we are not aware of, and the virus could be on surfaces in public locations,” Krager said. “Residents should be staying home as much as possible, particularly those at higher risk.”

The Cowlitz County Joint Information Center on Tuesday established a hotline for COVID-19 information and resources, including health department recommendations, school district information, commercial business impact, community events and more. The public can access the line in English or Spanish by calling 1-888-683-8676.

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