First death from COVID-19 reported in Jefferson County

Posted 11/25/20

Jefferson County recorded its first death from COVID-19 Tuesday, according to Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke. 

The victim was a woman in her 90s who was chronically ill and receiving …

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First death from COVID-19 reported in Jefferson County

Posted

Jefferson County recorded its first death from COVID-19 Tuesday, according to Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke. 

The victim was a woman in her 90s who was chronically ill and receiving hospice care. The woman died at her residence Tuesday and her physician certified her death as caused by COVID-19 infection on Wednesday, Locke said. 

Locke said Jefferson County Public Health regularly investigates COVID-19 outbreaks in homes, workplaces and other group settings and that each investigation involves identifying contacts who could have been infected. He said such contacts are notified, quarantined and tested for COVID-19.

Locke declined to specifically say where the woman was living at the time of her death, saying, "we do not release information about exposure or outbreak location when we are able to identify and directly notify all close contacts through this investigation process." 

In rare circumstances, Locke said Jefferson County Public Health could issue a public statement to notify potential contacts, but that it has not had need for such methods thus far. 

Until this week’s COVID-19 death, Jefferson County had been one of just four counties in Washington to not report a death due to the coronavirus.

The other counties that have not reported a death from COVID are San Juan, Garfield and Wahkiakum counties.

In counties neighboring Jefferson, there have been three COVID-related deaths in Clallam; 12 in Island; 11 in Mason; 17 in Grays Harbor; and 30 in Kitsap.

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Stephen Schumacher

I respectfully question the basis on which "Jefferson County just recorded its first death from COVID-19 last week."

The decedent was "in her 90s and was chronically ill and had been receiving hospice care," meaning she was already on the verge of death with no hope of cure. She may have died WITH the virus, but I doubt she died FROM the virus.

This is a classic example of how shifting standards and incentives have inflated COVID-19 death totals. Coronavirus illnesses like colds didn't count as the cause of death for hospice patients in years gone by.

But nowadays, "if you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death... anyone who passes away after testing positive for the virus is included in that category," per Illinois' Health Director.

Hence our county's "first death from COVID-19" would be "included in that category ...after testing positive" whether or not she had any COVID symptoms hastening her already-imminent departure.

Note how this miscounts (often false) positive PCR tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus as if they were symptomatic cases of the disease COVID-19, further inflating "case" and death statistics. Like HIV and AIDS, the virus and the disease are different concepts and should not be lumped together.

Based on information reported to date, Jefferson County still seems to have no deaths from COVID-19.

Wednesday, January 13