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March 21, 2020

Public Health investigating cluster of related COVID-19 cases.

Skagit County Public Health is investigating a cluster of recently confirmed COVID-19 cases that has been traced to a group meeting of approximately 60 people in early March. Case investigation indicates that more than half of attendees who were at this gathering are now confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19.

This situation clearly illustrates the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and emphasizes the importance of following social distancing guidelines in order to control the spread of the virus.

Public Health is contacting all symptomatic and asymptotic attendees of this meeting, as well as close contacts of symptomatic attendees. Meeting attendees and close contacts have been advised to quarantine or isolate themselves as appropriate.

If you have not been contacted by Public Health, you were not an attendee of this meeting or close contact of an attendee. Public Health continues to receive and investigate notifications of new laboratory confirmed cases unrelated to this cluster. The community should expect to see a significant increase in the number of confirmed Skagit County COVID-19 cases in the coming days.

With the strongest sense of urgency, the Skagit County Health Officer urges the community to abide by all health officer recommendations. People should postpone or cancel any gathering outside of immediate household members.

Everyone should assume that anyone they come into contact with could have COVID-19. Limit movement outside the home to essential activities only. People at-high risk, including people over 60, people with underlying health conditions, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women should shelter in place now.

Anyone who has been exposed to a confirmed case should quarantine themselves at home for 14 days. People experiencing symptoms need to stay at home for at least 3 days after their symptoms resolve or at a minimum 7 days, whichever is longer.

The Public Health and medical community need everyone's cooperation on social distancing in order to preserve critical healthcare resources. If too many people are sick all at once, there will not be enough medical resources, including ventilators, to go around. The healthcare system is planning for surge capacity, but that plan is dependent on us staying home now.

Stay informed on case counts and resources at skagitcounty.net/coronavirus, updated daily at 2:00pm.