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Thurston County COVID-19 cases.

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is investigating two new COVID-19 outbreaks reported at long-term care facilities, Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek wrote in an update Friday.

Testing at the two facilities played a part in the daily-high number of cases reported Thursday. A total of 35 new cases were reported by the county that day.

At least 15 employees and residents at the two facilities have tested positive for the virus.

According to Abdelmalek, two residents and one staff member tested positive at a six-person adult home. Three residents and nine staff members at a separate residential group home also tested positive.

“The investigation is ongoing and more cases may be identified as a result of testing,” Abdelmalek wrote. “These facilities are under quarantine and there is no threat to the general public. We are working with these facilities to contain these outbreaks and control and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”

An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases and at least two of the cases have onset dates within 14 days of each other and contracted from the same point. 

The definition of an outbreak recently changed for long term care facilities, Abdelmalek wrote. Spread at a long term care facility is declared an outbreak when one resident or health care worker is confirmed to have the virus.  

The two facilities are not being identified by the county and won’t be unless the outbreak poses a threat to the public.

“We want people in our community to feel safe and to have confidence that our department’s team of investigators and contact tracers are working around the clock to protect the health and safety of our community while also safeguarding confidential personal information and abiding by federal and state laws,” she wrote.

Thurston County on Friday confirmed five new cases of the virus — one individual in their 20s, three in their 30s, and one in their 50s were among the new diagnoses.

The total number of cases since the start of the pandemic stands at 748 in the county.

Public Health staff are encouraging the public to continue implementing a 6-foot social distancing practice in public, washing their hands, covering coughs, staying home when sick and wearing a face mask.

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