Testing

Security watches as Providence medical personnel conduct a drive-thru COVID-19 test at Hawks Prairie in Lacey in April.

Thurston County Public Health began investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 at a long-term care facility in Tumwater Wednesday, according to local Public Health Director Schelli Slaughter.

An "outbreak" is defined as two or more linked cases, Slaughter said. As of Wednesday, county Public Health knew of two confirmed cases associated with the facility and a testing team went into the facility to test everyone there, Slaughter said.

She expected the results within 48 hours.

Slaughter declined to name the facility, saying she wanted to give the facility time to notify families. More information, including the name of the facility and the number of residents and staff at the facility who were tested, is expected to be released Thursday.

The investigation was mentioned in a masking directive issued by Acting Public Health Director Dr. Diana Yu Wednesday.

"Whereas, on May 27, 2020, an outbreak in a long-term care facility is under investigation," a line of the directive reads.

The outbreak investigation was a factor in Dr. Yu's decision to issue the directive that residents wear masks in public, Slaughter said, calling it a "sobering reminder that we still have transmission of COVID-19 in Thurston County."

But, she said, news that Thurston County can move into Phase 2 of re-opening the economy weighed more heavily in the decision.

"Everyone needs to remain diligent and cautious," Slaughter said.

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