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LOCAL NEWS: COVID-19 kills Clark County couple

LOCAL NEWS: COVID-19 kills Clark County couple

A husband and wife, both in their 80s and living in separate care facilities in Clark County, Washington, have both died after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Joanne Rideout reports. [1:28]

They were both hospitalized last week at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.

At a press conference Tuesday, Clark County Public Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick called the deaths “a horrible tragedy” and said “our thoughts and prayers are with the family members.” 

He did not reveal names or locations of the victims or their families for privacy reasons. Any persons who had close contact with the couple are now in quarantine and and being closely monitored. Even though they lived in separate facilities, the couple had been in contact before they became ill.

Dr. Melnick said it’s clear to health officials that this was a case of local transmission of the coronavirus.

Alan Melnick: “The bottom line is they contracted it somewhere in the community. Neither one of them traveled. I don’t know where they actively, you know, what person or where they contracted it. But I am confident that they contracted it within Clark County, not from traveling. And that’s why we’re saying it’s out there, it’s here in our community.”

These are the first deaths from COVID-19 in Clark County. Last Tuesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a directive limiting visits to elder care facilities. The Centers for Disease Control say the incubation period for the disease can be up to 14 days.

Across the Columbia River in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown Tuesday also issued a directive restricting visitors to all nursing and residential care facilities, adult foster homes and group homes, in her latest efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus. 

I’m Joanne Rideout reporting.