As of Tuesday 25 people were confirmed to have COVID-19 in Grant County.
The number of people in Quincy with COVID-19 has increased to 16, Mattawa now has six, Moses Lake two and Ephrata one, according to the Grant County Health District website. There are three probable people under testing. Only one person has died so far from the virus in Grant County.
The health district is now advising that high risk groups shelter in place, according to a news release. This includes people who are over 60, those with underlying health conditions — such as heart disease or diabetes — or those with compromised immune systems.
Shelter in place means people in those groups should stay at home, according to the news release. They should not go to the store, they should not go to work and they should avoid contact with people outside their immediate household.
At this point, everyone in Grant County should believe that the virus is among them, according to the news release. It is now recommended that people use facemasks or bandannas to prevent the spread of the virus.
The disease is spread mainly through respiratory droplets and the face coverings will prevent someone who is sneezing or coughing from spreading the disease, according to the news release.
On Monday, Governor Jay Inslee banned all gatherings of local people and required Washingtonians to stay at home, according to a news release from the governor’s office. All gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes are banned. All businesses, except essential ones, are required to be closed.
People are still allowed to go outside to go to the grocery store, participate in activities like bike riding, gardening and dog walking, as long as they follow social distancing rules, according to the news release. Police departments are enforcing these rules.
Quincy Police Chief Kieth Siebert said the police department would encourage people not to gather. They will enforce the law if they need to, but they don’t want to do so. But, he doesn’t think there will be a need to strongly enforce the regulations, residents have been good about self-monitoring.
“I think that's where the pressure comes from, it doesn’t come from the government or law enforcement, it comes from the public,” Siebert said. “The social norms are way off right now, they’re out the window.”
For now, the police department is actually trying to maintain business as usual, he said. In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important for people to remain calm and the police department is contributing to that by going about things normally.