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COVID-19 test positive cases appear in Ferndale School District and Bellingham & Lynden care facilities

FERNDALE, Wash. — Ferndale School District (FSD) Superintendent announced late yesterday, Sunday, March 22nd, that she had been informed about a service provider who had worked with some individual FSD students had been identified as test positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) also announced late yesterday a total of 26 residents and 6 staff at the Shuksan Healthcare Center long-term care center in Bellingham and 1 resident at the Lynden Manor assisted living residence in Lynden had been identified as test positive for the COVID-19 disease.

Quinn said she had received a phone call from Lummi Behavioral Health Department informing her a non-tribal Lummi Indian Business Council employee had tested positive. The service provider worked at Ferndale High School, Vista Middle School and Horizon Middle School during the week of March 9th to the 13th, Quinn said. Lummi Behavioral Health staff had contacted each student believed to have direct contact with this person during the past 14 days according to the announcement.

WCHD said the second Whatcom County death associated with the COVID-19 disease outbreak was an 80-year-old man who had been previously discharged from Shuksan Healthcare Facility and later confirmed test positive on March 21st, the day after his death. That same day, 3 residents at the facility been found to be test positive while others were still awaiting their test results.

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Sunday, WCHD said test results had been received and 23 more residents and 6 staff were found to be test positive while 9 residents and 1 staff had negative test results.

In an another announcement Sunday, WCHD said a resident at Lynden Manor had tested positive.

WCHD explained the difference between the 2 facilities in an email,

Assisted living residences are long-term care centers that offer varying degrees of personal and medical care within a home-like setting, while skilled nursing facilities have residents with higher medical needs. Residents in assisted living facilities live in one- or two-bedroom apartment units with a shared dining room. Residents have the option to eat in their rooms. Whatcom County Health Department email (March 22, 2020)

Disease investigators from the Health Department undertake identifying and informing all close contacts of confirmed cases. During a contact investigation, public health officials talk with individuals who have a lab-confirmed case about where they were during their infectious period and with whom they may have had contact for more than 10 minutes in a space of less than six feet. Investigators then reach out to each person who was in close contact to let them know of their potential exposure to the disease and give them instructions about how to prevent infecting others.

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