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BREMERTON – The pandemic coronavirus is on the rise, here and elsewhere, as a new wave of COVID-19 infections hits Kitsap County this fall.

October brought 365 confirmed cases at Kitsap, the county’s highest monthly tally since July. County activity cases, now 92, have more than doubled in the past two weeks. Last week, Kitsap Public Health officials reported 35 cases on Monday, many of the latest in a day since the pandemic began.

Similar trends are happening across the country. The United States broke 100,000 new cases just on Wednesday, the highest number of daily infections in the country. In Washington state, the Department of Health reported more than 1,000 new cases on Friday, the most marking since mid-July.

“We are seeing an increase in cases here in Kitsap, as well as in the region, nationally and around the world,” said Kitsap Health Officer, Dr. Gib Morrow at the Association meeting. Kitsap Public Health companion on Tuesday. “This is going as we expected when we fell into a fall, because it got colder and we moved indoors.”

Health officials are increasingly concerned about the proliferation of infections, especially on holidays, which risk overwhelming the state’s health care system.

In recent weeks, Kitsap Public Health staff have re-linked infectious diseases to a variety of settings, including workplaces, government institutions, religious gatherings, and family contacts. family and social gatherings where people don’t wear masks.

From March to September, 4 out of 10 cases are likely to be related to another case in the same household, according to the most recent Kitsap Public Health case report.

About 2 in 10 cases may be related to viral outbreaks; The same is true for workplace exposure. About a tenth of the cases said they had traveled abroad recently, while 7% said they attended a social event, such as a party, wedding or funeral.

The virus had a disproportionate effect on Spanish / Latino, Black or Pacific Islander Kitsap residents, reflecting trends seen across the country. Infections are also more common in Kitsap areas with more poor people, according to an analysis by the Kitsap Public Health District.

Kitsap Public Health officials have recently focused on “laying the net” around infected people sooner or later, Morrow said.

“What we are trying to do is identify where and from whom our new cases of the disease come from,” he said at the meeting on Tuesday.

In recent weeks, Kitsap has sought to expand access to testing after the county has been lagging for several months. One of the reasons is that people often have to see a physical exam before having a test, says Jessica Guidry of the health department. Some people told Kitsap Public Health that their providers refused to get tested even if they met the criteria.

On October 26, health and county officials opened a drive-through test site at Pendergast Park in Bremerton, one of several planned low-barrier test sites across Kitsap . Bainbridge Island opened its own test drive website this week. And health officials are working with Olympic College to initiate similar locations at the school’s Bremerton and Poulsbo facilities employing the school’s nursing students.

“Our goal in the clinic is to identify and know each person with COVID, and the only way we can do that is through testing,” Morrow said.

At the Pendergast Park site, nine out of 78 people tested positive for the virus on the first day of opening. Morrow said a 6% positive rate indicates that Kitsap has not tested enough people for the virus. Test demand has only increased, with the drive-thru website offering tests to 128 people earlier this week.

However, while testing is critical for health officials to monitor and control COVID-19, other medical measures have become even more important for slowing the spread of the virus. cases continue to increase. And Morrow says we’ve already taken those steps:

“Active mask. Operating distance. The restriction on our social interactions, “Morrow said in a statement Wednesday.” Each of us needs to be committed to doing the right thing in every aspect of our lives. That’s the only way we can control the spread of this disease and start healing the community. “

Austen Macalus is Kitsap Sun’s social services correspondent – covering health care, the homeless and how programs are serving people living in poverty. He can be reached at austen.macalus@kitsapsun.com or 360-536-6423.

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