BREAKING: Clark County reports first two COVID-19 deaths

The victims were a husband and wife, both in their 80s

CLARK COUNTY — The outbreak of COVID-19 in Clark County claimed its first two victims Monday night, according Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick.

“Especially tragic,” said Dr. Melnick at a press conference on Tuesday, “this is a husband and wife, both in their 80s, who were hospitalized at PeaceHealth last week.”

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center was treating three of the four confirmed COVID-19 cases in Clark County. Photo by Mike Schultz
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center was treating three of the four confirmed COVID-19 cases in Clark County. Photo by Mike Schultz

Melnick said one of them was a resident at a small adult family home, and that all the staff and other residents are being quarantined and monitored actively.

The other lived at Van Mall Retirement Center, an assisted living community.

“Clark County Public Health has identified and notified all close contacts of that patient,” Melnick said, “they’re being quarantined and actively monitored.”

Melnick wouldn’t say more about how many people at the community may have been exposed, but did say they did “extensive interviews,” and have quarantined a “small number” of people who had direct contact with the patient.

The two victims had been in contact with each other, despite living at different facilities, Melnick confirmed.

As for where they contracted the virus, that was still unclear.

“Neither one of them traveled,” Melnick said. “I don’t know what person, or where they contracted it, but I am confident they contracted it within Clark County.”

Melnick added that no one who is quarantined after having close contact with the couple has shown symptoms, and none of them have been tested so far.

Clark County has just four confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date. The other two are a patient in their 70s, and a woman in her 40s who is currently in isolation at her own home.

In a release, PeaceHealth Southwest said both patients who died were being treated in isolation at the hospital.

“PeaceHealth sends its deepest condolences to the patients’ families and friends,” said Spokeswoman Debra Carnes. “We will continue to work closely with health authorities as we manage this public health crisis.”

PeaceHealth also said they are suspending all visitor access “until COVID-19 is no longer considered a public health threat.”

There will be some exceptions, though on a case-by-case basis, the hospital said.

Washington state currently has more than 900 confirmed cases, with 50 fatalities. King and Snohomish Counties have been hit the hardest.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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