Camp Murray, WA — Today Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman approved variance applications for Kittitas, Thurston, and Walla Walla counties to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan.
The COVID-19 emergency presents significant risks for the over 5 million individuals who self-identify as American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) alone or in combination with another race. AIAN people live across the country, but are concentrated in certain states, with roughly half living in seven states (CA, OK, AZ, TX, NM, WA, and NY). Under treaties and laws, the federal government has a unique responsibility to provide health care services to AIAN people. AIAN people face disproportionate risks from the COVID-19 outbreak given significant underlying disparities in health, social, and economic factors. Addressing their needs as part of COVID-19 response efforts will be key for preventing further widening of these disparities and fulfilling the federal government’s federal trust responsibility."
Data point to stark impacts of COVID-19 for AIAN people in some states. For example, as of May 11th, AIAN people made up 18% of deaths and 11% of cases compared to 4% of the total population in Arizona, 57% of cases compared to 9% of the total population in New Mexico, and 30% of cases compared to 2% of the total population in Wyoming, and (Figure 1). As of May 10th, the Indian Health Service (IHS) reported nearly 5,500 positive cases from IHS, Tribal, and urban Indian facilities, including over 3,300 among the Navajo Nation, which spans Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah."
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), Snohomish Health District and Public Health—Seattle & King County are confirming two cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. The patients, one Snohomish County resident and one King County resident, both received treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital. One patient is under the age of 10 and the other is between 10 and 19 years of age.
These are the only cases reported in Washington state residents to date. Health care providers in the United Kingdom were the first to recognize cases in late April, and providers in other states have identified cases as well. Following increased reports of previously healthy children presenting with a severe inflammatory syndrome with Kawasaki disease-like symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory last Thursday with a case definition.
“In Washington, we are tracking this issue closely and working with local health departments and providers to learn more,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer for DOH. “Early last week we asked all health care providers in the state to be on the lookout and immediately report possible cases to local health authorities.”
The current case definition includes the following:
“Seattle Children’s is committed to caring for our region’s most medically complex children, and our team of specialists is well-equipped to care for children presenting with this newly identified syndrome,” said Dr. John McGuire, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Seattle Children’s. “Although it remains very uncommon, parents should call their primary care providers if their children are showing new or unusual symptoms, such as a persistent fever or headache, abdominal pain with or without diarrhea, fatigue, and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath.”
“Parents who have concerns about possible COVID-19 in their children should contact their healthcare provider promptly,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Identifying this syndrome early is important because treatments are available for the serious complications.”
“While the vast majority of children appear to have mild or asymptomatic infection, it’s important to remember that—although rare—some children can develop serious complications like these,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “Our thoughts are with the young patient, their family and the care team at Seattle Children’s, and we wish for a speedy recovery.”
Given privacy concerns, public health officials will not release additional information on these cases.
Healthcare providers who have cared or are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should report suspected cases to their local public health agency. Additional guidance for pediatric healthcare providers was issued by CDC on May 15.
For more information on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health’s website or call 1-800-525-0127. More information on MIS-C and COVID-19 is also available from Seattle Children’s Hospital, Snohomish County Health District , Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Cowlitz, Grant, and Pacific counties are now eligible to submit a variance application to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan. The following counties were already announced to be eligible to submit an application to move to Phase 2: Adams, Clallam, Clark, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, San Juan, Spokane, and Thurston.
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