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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