Number of Thurston County COVID-19 Cases Grows

By Eric Rosane /
Posted 3/17/20

As of Tuesday morning, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services reported five confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the county and no deaths.

The situation is expected to worsen as …

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Number of Thurston County COVID-19 Cases Grows


As of Tuesday morning, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services reported five confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the county and no deaths.

The situation is expected to worsen as government officials — on the local, state and federal levels — attempt to slow the spread of the virus by pushing social distancing measures and calling for those with underlying health conditions to stay home.

Gov. Jay Inslee called for the mandatory closure of all schools statewide on Friday, March 13, leaving school districts to scramble for contingency plans over the weekend and early this week.

About 1.14 million Washington students will miss school from March 16 through April 24 in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

On Monday, Inslee restricted the number of public gatherings to 50 people and also called for the closure of all restaurants and bars — and many other businesses — for two weeks.

Multiple cities, counties and other jurisdictions have enacted state of emergency measures. These declarations ultimately concentrate legislative and operational authority to executives, but may mean varying things depending on the organization.

During an emergency meeting on Thursday, March 12, the Thurston County Board of Commissioners and Board of Health passed a resolution declaring the outbreak of COVID-19 a local emergency.

The board also suspended the work of all of its advisory boards, commissions, committees and councils for at least four weeks on Monday.

“We are taking these measures to help protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable populations in Thurston County and lead by example,” said Commission Chair John Hutchings. “We will continue to assess and take additional measures to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 throughout our community.”

The City of Tenino enacted a state of emergency declaration. This measure will last indefinitely until further notice.

“I want to get ahead of any potential issues,” Mayor Wayne Fournier said in a statement. “Our normal contracting process is designed for long lead times. We can’t be reactive here; suspending the normal acquisition procedure allows us to be proactive. We want to prevent the worst from happening, not simply clean up the mess.”

This proclamation allows the city to take authority on emergency spending procedures to ensure the welfare of the city, its residence and customers. It also gives the city’s police chief more power, such as directing people away from areas if necessary.

Tenino will suspend all collection actions, late fees and the accruing interest on overdue accounts during this state of emergency.

Yelm councilmember Joe DePinto wrote in a Facebook post on Monday that Yelm will not be proclaiming a state of emergency, but instead will cancel all non-essential city activities.

That includes in-person utility and bill payments, municipal court, passport services, pet licensing and other customer service-related business, DePinto said.

“The city will continue to provide essential services such as water, sewer, police and emergency management, building permit and inspection services,” the councilmember wrote. “City parks and bathrooms will also remain open. The city will not shut off utilities for non-payment for anyone who cannot pay due to the impacts of the coronavirus. Customer account balances will continue to accrue though.”

Here are the numbers, as of Tuesday morning, related to the spread of COVID-19:

• In Washington state, there had been a total of 904 total confirmed cases and 11,582 negative cases. The number of coronavirus-related deaths stood at 48, according to the state Department of Health.

• In the United States, there had been a total of 3,487 confirmed cases reported and 68 total deaths, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Most cases are still under investigation, but many are expected to be community contracted.

Pierce County has seen a surge in cases over the last week. On Monday, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced nine additional cases, bringing its count up to 38 total cases.

Resources for individuals and businesses affected by the regional COVID-19 outbreak can found on the governor’s office website.

The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound and United Way of Thurston County also announced Sunday the establishment of the Thurston County COVID-19 Response Fund.

This fund will benefit public health workers in their response to the coronavirus outbreak. It will also benefit disproportionately impacted families and individuals, as well as the organizations that serve them.

“Together, UWTC and the Community Foundation will gather data to identify emerging needs, as well as gaps in existing services, and work to rapidly mobilize and deploy resources to the people who are most vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19 in Thurston County,” a media release stated.


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