CORONAVIRUS INFECTIONS SPIKE IN LEWIS COUNTY

CHEHALIS – What are the true numbers of individuals infected with coronavirus in Lewis County and elsewhere in Washington State? Lewis County Health and Social Services reports a backlog of 114 additional positive test results and that the significant increase in reported cases is due to two factors. First, there was a breakdown in the Washington State Department of Health’s secure, central reporting archive known as the Washington Data Reporting System. All patient testing data from around the state is submitted to the computer data system, where it is processed and then sent to counties according to each patient’s home address. Secondly, COVID-19 cases are on the increase statewide. In mid-June when Phase 3 started, around 9,000 tests were submitted to WDRS per day. Now with more than 20,000 COVID-19 test results being submitted daily, the state’s Data Reporting System problem quickly created an enormous backlog of cases. Lewis County Health and Social Services Director J.P. Anderson told the County Commissioners Monday that “as we go forth the next couple of weeks we will see increases, so with the steps we take now in the next few days, we should see the benefits of those in more like a three week time frame. The data that we’re looking for will start to show an improvement in our situation is still several weeks out.” Anderson added, “Several weeks ago, or even going back several months, we were comfortable in our strategy, in that we felt it was the best and most accurate information,” Anderson said Monday. “Right now, we feel like the community is really wanting information that’s more timely, and I think the discrepancy between ours and the state’s dashboard really did not help to provide the best information, so right now we need to pivot a bit and we need to start reporting those as soon as we know.” 36 of the latest infections are in Lewis County residents 29 years of age or younger.

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