Guidelines offered for quarantine after exposure to the virus
June 16, 2022
The cumulative count of covid-19 cases in Wahkiakum County stands at 314, according to Wahkiakum Health and Human Services, which only counts PCR confirmed tests.
According to the Washington Department of Health (DOH), which counts PCR and antigen tests, there have been 551 cases of covid-19, 34 visits to the hospital and seven deaths attributed to covid-19. A week previous, DOH reported a cumulative total of 547 cases in the county, 33 hospitalizations and seven deaths attributed to the virus.
Disclaimer: With the easy availability of at home tests, the number of actual cases of covid-19 in the county is hard to ascertain.
WHHS Director Chris Bischoff responded to a reader’s question about the protocol for a vaccinated person who receives a negative test after exposure to covid-19.
“Unfortunately, this is a complicated discussion,” Bischoff said. “The Washington Department of Health does a great job of trying to cover how long quarantine changes depending on vaccination status. In general, if you are exposed to someone who tests positive for covid-19 you should quarantine for five days and then continue to wear good masks for a total of 10 days after contact.
"If you are vaccinated you don’t have to quarantine, but do need to wear a good mask for 10 days. You should also get tested five days after you are potentially exposed.
Anyone with questions is welcome to call the health department, Bischoff added.
While the state DOH reports that 74.4 percent of the state, age five and up, are considered fully vaccinated, the same population in Wahkiakum lags well behind at 52.3 percent.
Discussion of monkeypox
“The monkeypox virus is related to the smallpox virus, they are both in the same family and genus,” Bischoff said. “Monkeypox is typically less severe than smallpox. The fatality rate for monkeypox is significantly lower for example.
"From the Centers for Disease Control, ‘Monkeypox spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact between people, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.’
"Due to the intimate nature of spread for the monkeypox virus the threat to people is pretty low. Cases are most typically seen in parts of Africa where the virus likely uses animals as reservoirs. Cases like those recently in the US are usually associated with people who have traveled outside the country or from contact with animals recently imported into the country.”
Discussion of avian flu
“Avian Influenza (bird flu) is an influenza type A virus,” Bischoff said. “It is related to human flu viruses. Typically avian flu infects water fowl, but also can be spread to domestic fowl like chickens.
"Avian influenza can also be spread by wild birds. For example, a sparrow stealing food from a poultry farm might be exposed and then fly to somebody’s backyard chicken coop and expose those chickens as well. Domesticated fowl have been decimated by this disease in past outbreaks.
"On very rare occasions a mutated strain of avian influenza has jumped from domesticated animals to humans. Severity of the disease in humans has ranged from no symptoms to death; however, it is important to remember that human infections have been very rare to this point.
Bischoff recommends the CDC website for more information.