Latest City Update
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The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health updates its daily case counts in the morning and afternoon on weekdays. Cases reported over the weekend will be reflected in the update on the following Monday.
As more testing has become available, we are getting increased numbers of reports from laboratories and other facilities. It takes time to reconcile data in order to report numbers accurately.
We report official case numbers, including numbers of deaths, through 11:59 p.m. the night before. People may hear directly from health care facilities that provide different numbers of deaths from our official count, sometimes before we have the information and a chance to reconcile the data.
If there is a case in someone at a school, workplace, or other facility, there may be additional communication from the affected facility to notify students, staff, and families. The Department of Community Health is coordinating with local partners to help provide accurate information and guidance.
The tally of confirmed or presumptive positive cases is not the full picture. There are likely additional cases who do not have symptoms or have mild symptoms, similar to a cold or the flu, and have not been identified through testing. Although this illness can be severe, the majority of cases appear to be mild or moderate.
Coronaviruses like COVID-19 spread primarily among close contacts. They are spread through respiratory droplets when people cough or sneeze, or by touching a surface where the virus has been and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. This is different from an airborne virus like measles, where we would release locations of general exposure.
If a case is confirmed or presumed positive in someone at a school, workplace, or other facility, there may be additional communications from the affected facility to notify students, staff, and families. The Department of Community Health is coordinating with local partners on providing information and guidance.
Walla Walla County Emergency Management: Facebook
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin: Website
Washington state coronavirus response: Website
On April 6, Gov. Jay Inslee announced all schools in Washington are to be closed through this school year, which will have a tremendous impact on our community. Meals are still provided for students and families who need them, and online/at home learning has been put in place by all Washington school districts. Details about meal service for students can be found online:
- Columbia School District
- College Place Public Schools
- Prescott School District
- Touchet School District
- Waitsburg School District
- Walla Walla Public Schools
Distance learning protocol has been put in place by all school districts. It is important that students and families continue to monitor communications from their local school districts. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction has stated that OSPI is working on employment security plans for those affected by the closures.
While the impacts of closing schools are significant, this measure is being done to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Though school-age children are not considered a high-risk group for severe illness from the virus, they can spread the virus and they have contact with others in the community who are at high risk.
Schools are closed at this time and workplaces are closed except for essential services and remote work. Employers should maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits to accommodate these measures.
People with symptoms such as cough, fever, and/or difficulty breathing, or who have been contacted by public health because they are a close contact of a confirmed case, should stay home and away from others. Do not attend work or other activities until 72 hours after fever has resolved or seven days after the illness began, whichever is longer.
If you have specific questions about your symptoms or care, contact your medical provider. Please call ahead before showing up to a clinic or other health care facility.
Continue to monitor messages from your school district, child care facility, workplace, and the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health for updated guidance.
At this time, child cares are open for children of essential workers or vulnerable children who do not have alternative care. Parents who can keep their children home or arrange for other care need to do so at this time. Child cares should not be used for socializing children for a few hours a day or because the parent needs quiet time to work at home.
If you are working remotely, your children should be home with you. And while socializing is important, this is not the time to have children in groups when it is not absolutely necessary. Physical distancing is essential to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Child cares play a crucial role in ensuring those who cannot work remotely still have a safe place for their children. Many people who are critical to this pandemic response — including first responders, dispatchers, and health care workers — are not able to work remotely. However, child care providers must be able to meet health and safety requirements.
A few highlights of those requirements are: excluding sick employees from work; sending sick children home; meeting all CDC recommended cleaning and disinfecting procedures; and ensuring proper hand hygiene and sanitation are readily available to all children and staff.
Child care providers also may make individual decisions to close due to staffing or health issues, or they may need to close if a staff member or child becomes ill with COVID-19. We are encouraging child care providers to talk to families about the possibility of long-term closures and to make plans for their business. They also should look at closing temporarily if they cannot staff their child care without employees who are part of a high-risk group, which includes people who are 60 or older, people who have underlying medical conditions or weakened immune systems, and pregnant women.
Again, parents who can keep their children home need to do so. With schools and businesses closed, it is crucial that child care is prioritized for those who cannot work from home or stay home from work for an extended period of time. If a portion of families can keep their children at home, it reduces the group size in child care settings, which minimizes potential for exposure.Physical distancing (maintaining at least 6 feet of space aside from momentary or minimal contact) is not realistic in large groups of young children. Smaller groups reduce the risk of spreading illness and make it more manageable for child care providers to keep up with health needs like monitoring for symptoms, encouraging children not to touch their own or each other’s hands and faces, and frequent cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces and objects.
Yes. Governor Jay Inslee on March 23 announced the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which he later extended to May 6. People in Washington are required to stay home unless they are:
- Doing an essential activity like shopping for groceries or going for a medical appointments
- Getting take-out food. Restaurants may also deliver.
- Going to work at an essential business
- Going outside for walks or exercise, as long as social distancing (at least 6 feet between people) is maintained.
Gatherings of people for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes are prohibited, both public and private. Businesses that are not essential can continue remote operations (employees working from home). Businesses providing essential services still must ensure proper health and safety measures to prevent the spread of illness.
People who are at higher risk from COVID-19 and should take extra precautions include those who:
- are over 60 years of age
- have an underlying medical condition, like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.
- have weakened immune systems
- or are pregnant.
If you have questions about whether you or your child is at higher risk from COVID-19, ask your health care provider.