Uptick of COVID-19 Cases in Lewis County Shifts Focus to Hospital Readiness

July 6, 2020 Andrea Harger

Since Lewis County entered phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” reopening plan on June 19, more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. The trend has caused county officials to look toward hospitals, making sure they’re ready for an influx of patients, just in case they need to be. 

Lewis County Public Health and Social Services Director J.P. Anderson said after the rise in cases occurred throughout the county, his department contacted its healthcare partners to assess their respective situations. 

“Thus far, we haven’t learned of any concerning hospitalization rates,” Anderson said. “We also know that oftentimes, hospitalization doesn’t occur at the same time as a positive test. So, there can be a lag from increase of positive tests, to increased hospitalization.” 

 

The county’s seen a total number of 77 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Washington state Department of Health’s most recent data has reported 14 total county residents have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, those close to the situation are saying that could change.

According to Dr. Kevin Caserta, COVID-19 Incident Commander for Providence Southwest Washington, the entire Providence system of hospitals — 51 locations in total — saw its highest number of people admitted for COVID-19 on Monday. 

“If people aren’t maintaining appropriate precautions, we are going to absolutely see more people who are sick enough to require hospitalization,” Caserta said. 

He continued by saying that most people who contract the disease actually become the most sick halfway through the course of the virus, which Caserta pointed to as day six or day seven of the illness. 

That’s when he said patients see an “enormous inflammatory response” referred to as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which causes them to become sick and in some cases causes death. 

“The other thing that we’re seeing right now, is the population that is developing coronavirus tends to be a younger population,” Caserta said. “It would only take one potential individual who’s working with more elderly or frail people and we could have significant morbidity and mortality from this vulnerable population.” 

As of now, Valley View Health Center CEO Gaelon Spradley said the supply chain for personal protective equipment for the hospitals has been effective, but the concern rests in increasing cases at both the county and state levels and the impact that could have on those supplies. 

Lewis County Deputy Director of Emergency Management Andy Caldwell said he wants to make sure the needs of the hospitals are met as it pertains to supplies, given the rising case numbers. He said it’s as simple as contacting the hospitals and checking in on their needs.

“It’s nothing new, I was doing it pretty regularly through the beginning months of this,” Caldwell said. “However, as cases seemed to level off, the need for checking with them on a regular basis kind of went to a back burner. More than anything, as we see an increase in cases, I just want to make that a new priority.” 

 
 

 

 

Since Lewis County entered phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” reopening plan on June 19, more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. The trend has caused county officials to look toward hospitals, making sure they’re ready for an influx of patients, just in case they need to be. 

Lewis County Public Health and Social Services Director J.P. Anderson said after the rise in cases occurred throughout the county, his department contacted its healthcare partners to assess their respective situations. 

“Thus far, we haven’t learned of any concerning hospitalization rates,” Anderson said. “We also know that oftentimes, hospitalization doesn’t occur at the same time as a positive test. So, there can be a lag from increase of positive tests, to increased hospitalization.” 

 

The county’s seen a total number of 77 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Washington state Department of Health’s most recent data has reported 14 total county residents have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, those close to the situation are saying that could change.

According to Dr. Kevin Caserta, COVID-19 Incident Commander for Providence Southwest Washington, the entire Providence system of hospitals — 51 locations in total — saw its highest number of people admitted for COVID-19 on Monday. 

“If people aren’t maintaining appropriate precautions, we are going to absolutely see more people who are sick enough to require hospitalization,” Caserta said. 

He continued by saying that most people who contract the disease actually become the most sick halfway through the course of the virus, which Caserta pointed to as day six or day seven of the illness. 

That’s when he said patients see an “enormous inflammatory response” referred to as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which causes them to become sick and in some cases causes death. 

“The other thing that we’re seeing right now, is the population that is developing coronavirus tends to be a younger population,” Caserta said. “It would only take one potential individual who’s working with more elderly or frail people and we could have significant morbidity and mortality from this vulnerable population.” 

As of now, Valley View Health Center CEO Gaelon Spradley said the supply chain for personal protective equipment for the hospitals has been effective, but the concern rests in increasing cases at both the county and state levels and the impact that could have on those supplies. 

Lewis County Deputy Director of Emergency Management Andy Caldwell said he wants to make sure the needs of the hospitals are met as it pertains to supplies, given the rising case numbers. He said it’s as simple as contacting the hospitals and checking in on their needs.

“It’s nothing new, I was doing it pretty regularly through the beginning months of this,” Caldwell said. “However, as cases seemed to level off, the need for checking with them on a regular basis kind of went to a back burner. More than anything, as we see an increase in cases, I just want to make that a new priority.” 

 
 
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