Four new COVID cases brings county total to 43

Submitted by San Juan County.

Four new positive COVID test results have been reported for San Juan County. Three of these cases are on San Juan Island, and one is on Lopez. Though investigations are ongoing, early results suggest that these cases are not related.

After the initial investigation of the Lopez case, it appears that the individual has not been on Lopez recently and that there is no local transmission risk. Final confirmation should be obtained today and updates will be provided if this assessment changes.

Contact tracing for the three San Juan Island cases has resulted in a number of close contacts being quarantined, with testing ongoing. Transmission for one of the San Juan Island cases is from off-island travel, the other two are currently undetermined.

Islanders, this is the winter surge of cases we’ve long known was coming. Now is the time to modify our behavior. We need to keep our bubbles small, cover our faces when around others, and fully understand that we’re headed towards the worst stretch yet. For parents, now is not the time for kids to gather unmasked, or to have birthday parties or sleepovers. For adults, protect your co-workers, don’t gather socially, and understand that COVID is back in the islands.

San Juan County Health officials are working closely with local school leaders to monitor risk and safety precautions. At this time, current plans around school openings and youth sports are moving forward with an abundance of caution.

Please remember that in addition to the effects of the disease on infected individuals, the most direct impact of COVID on our health happens when a surge of cases overwhelms our healthcare systems. This means that everyone who needs care of any kind suffers.

At this point, most of us are aware of what we need to do:

• Stay home if sick and call your healthcare provider. If you are going to be tested, or are awaiting test results, stay home, regardless of how you feel.

• Keep our bubbles small.

• Cover our faces.

• Reconsider any holiday plans that involve travel or hosting others coming from off-island.

COVID-fatigue is real and totally understandable. We’re all ready for this to be over, but we’re at risk of letting our progress from earlier this year slip away. Vaccines are on the horizon. For now, let’s redouble our efforts, be thoughtful about our choices, and help the islands avoid widespread transmission in the islands.