COVID-19 uptick deemed no cause for alarm

Thirteen additional people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Island County in the last two weeks, putting the total at 195 since the start of the pandemic, according to Island County Public Health.

The number of deaths is still at 12 people.

Keith Higman, director of Island County Public Health, said the increase isn’t cause for panic.

The county isn’t investigating any clusters. Some of the cases were within families and some were associated with travel to other parts of the state.

“Our numbers look good,” he said, “compared to other places across the state and compared to other states.”

Higman said he believes nobody is currently hospitalized in the county with COVID-19.

On June 16, Island County officials submitted a request to the state Secretary of Health to move the county into Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan for reopening the state. At that time, the county had 182 positive COVID-19 results.

The request was granted June 19.

While non-essential travel is allowed under Phase 3, Higman cautions people to be careful about going on vacations or doing other travel outside of the county. He pointed out that simply stopping at a gas station in another county, for example, can lead to an exposure.

WhidbeyHealth has COVID-19 testing available at its clinics, emergency department and outpatient laboratory, but a patient needs an order from a provider. Island Hospital and Skagit County Public Health also offer testing, with drive-through rapid testing at Skagit Valley College.

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