Summary and take-away Medical and DEM information:

Department of Health (Dr. Locke)

Case / Test Data:

  • Total US cases now stand at over 987,000 with over 55,000 deaths for a case death rate of 5%.
  • In Washington, total cases number 13,521 with 749 deaths for a case death rate of 5.5%.
  • Washington has 2% of the US population with 1.3% of US cases.
  • We therefore have managed this better than the average even though at the outset Washington was the epicenter of the virus.
  • WA state is still experiencing an increase in positive cases by 200 to 300 per day.
  • In Jefferson county the numbers have remained constant at 28 cases for over two weeks and no deaths reported.
  • In response to the question of how many have recovered, Dr Locke notes that since our knowledge of the disease is so limited, we can only answer if we provide a definition of what recovered means.
  • Recovery in this context means-28 days without symptoms, not hospitalized, and obviously still alive. I add the latter since the Dr. Locke included that term but note that it seems superfluous.


  • While the Case Death Rate (number of deaths divided by number of cases) provides important data, Dr Locke noted that the Infection Case Rate (number of deaths divided by the number of infections) is the much more significant since is the basis used to project the ability to open and maintain an open society.
  • Also noted is that the COVID-19 virus is 5 to 9 times more lethal that the flu.
  • It now is clear that population density is an important factor in the transmission of the virus
    • rural areas show a much lower rate of infection.
    • It is also clear that the volume of exposure, that is the density of the virus to which one is exposed, is a further significant factor.
  • In that regard, while we still have a shortage of incidental items such as swabs, the current ability to test in Washington State is at 20,000 per day and forecast to be 30,000 per day within two weeks.
  • Jefferson County is close now to the level we need which is 100 tests per day.
  • In addition to a long delayed but improving ability to test is an expansion of criteria for testing which will broaden the data base.
    • That coupled with a forecast increase in the number of those involved in contact tracing should allow an intelligent and carefully monitored opening of society.
  • The CDC has updated the symptoms list associated with COVID-19 infection:
    • Fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.

Roadmap to Reopening:

  • The focus, with a goal to safely opening society is to provide an expanse of testing that allows those with expertise to manage and quarantine where necessary while allowing increased freedom of movement.
  • Jefferson County Commissioners are exploring options to re-opening. These include:
    • Economic and social impacts for reopening – timelines
    • Business segments opening by phase with sustainability
    • Public social distancing – hygiene protocols
    • Partnering with department of health guidelines to measure and assure compliance
  • First business segment opening is construction:
    • The key element is it only applies to EXISTING and LOW RISK construction projects with a few exceptions for such critical needs as affordable housing or emergency repairs of utilities.
    • In order to recommence construction, strict requirements will exist for social distancing, a workplan, supervision, PPE and scheduling of workers/subcontractors.
    • Policing of the policy will be done by the State Labor & Industries Department, not County.
    • County review of permit applications will continue but will not be issued until future Phase of the Construction Restart is implemented.
    • This will speed getting construction underway more quickly than waiting to review applications.
    • The Job Site Requirements at the following link: construction Job Site Requirements

Personal Protection Updates:

  • Jefferson County DEM is disappointed that their supplies of PPE from WA State have slowed dramatically.
    • The DEM is working with the state to increase supply chain.

Neighborhood Preparation (NPREP) may be asked to help with contact tracing should it be needed in the future.