Port Townsend is epicenter of COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County

Posted 8/28/20

More than half of the COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County have been traced to residents of Port Townsend, according to county health officials.

A total of 35 of the 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19 …

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Port Townsend is epicenter of COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County

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More than half of the COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County have been traced to residents of Port Townsend, according to county health officials.

A total of 35 of the 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county have been linked to Port Townsend residents, health officials said this week.

Officials had previously been reluctant to share details of where the people live who have been infected with the disease.

Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke told county commissioners last week that he had received multiple requests from people who wanted to know the general geographic location of those who had tested positive for the disease.

But rules dictating medical privacy have previously prevented the county from sharing that information, Locke said.

Other counties have been providing the geographic location of COVID-19 cases.

That was changing for Jefferson County, however, given the rising number of total infections, Locke added.

"The more cases you have, the less likely an individual is to be identified," Locke told commissioners during their Aug. 17 coronavirus update.

This week, the county detailed for the first time where people who have been infected with COVID-19 live.

In addition to the 35 cases in Port Townsend, there have been 27 COVID-19 cases in the mid-county region, with seven other cases in south Jefferson County (Quilcene, Brinnon and West Jefferson).

Through late Thursday, a total of 6,467 residents of Jefferson County have been tested for COVID-19.

Of the 69 cases found, 36 patients have been female, and 33 have been male.

Test results were still pending for 53 JeffCo residents late Thursday.

Earlier, Locke said that where a person lives is not a significant risk factor for catching the disease.

Instead, higher risk factors are the steps people don't take to protect themselves (including social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks) and the public places people go (bars and cramped indoor settings, and other venues with large gatherings of people).

Many COVID-19 cases that have been discovered in Jefferson County have been traced to incidents where locals have had relatives from outside the county visiting, or cases where JeffCo residents have contracted COVID during their out-of-county travels.

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