A Quincy resident that was one of the first people in Eastern Washington to be confirmed as having COVID-19 has died.
The man in his 80s was put into isolation at Central Washington Hospital last week, according to a Grant County Health District news release. The health district is telling people they may have been exposed if they attended a Feb. 21 Mary Poppins Production or the Quincy Senior Center anytime between Feb. 13 and Feb. 28.
The health district did not say that the 80-year-old infected man was at the production or the senior center. But the Quincy School District confirmed that individual was at the Mary Poppins production, according to a Quincy School District news release.
The man did not live in an assisted living facility of any kind, Health District Spokesperson Amber McCoy said.
The school district’s custodial staff have disinfected the Quincy High School Performing Arts Center and increased their focus on keeping soap, papers towels and hand sanitizer stocked, according to the news release.
Day custodial staff are prioritizing disinfecting high touch areas like doorknobs, faucets and handrails, according to the news release.
COVID-19 spreads from respiratory droplets that are produced when a person coughs or sneezes, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. It mainly spreads from person-to person contact. It can spread when a person touches a surface with the virus, but that is not the main method.
Local healthcare agencies have ramped up efforts to slow the spread of the disease and reduce the impact on the community, said Stephanie Melcher, spokesperson for the Moses Lake and Quincy community health centers.
“The virus is active, it is out there,” Melcher said. “It is just a matter of time and if we’re following proper protocol and we’re doing everything we can to reduce the spread of infection, really that is all we can do at this point.”
People need to do what they can to help in this situation, including washing hands, keeping their distance from others and avoiding large public gatherings, she said. If they see someone coughing, they should avoid them.
If people are experiencing flu-like symptoms or suspect they may have COVID-19, they should call their local health provider before they visit, Melcher said.
“Make sure you call first,” she said. “Most of us have protocols setup like our triage tent that we have setup outside.”
In Quincy, the triage tent is right under the health center’s sign. People can pull up and providers will run outside to ask people questions to assess whether they might have the virus, said Lynn Bales, Quincy Community Health Center director of operations.
People won’t even need to leave their vehicle, Bales said. If the providers think it is necessary, they will take a swab from the person for testing. They’ve talked to several people already, but no one has been swabbed.