San Juan Island Has 13 New COVID Cases, Majority From School Sports Breakout

Posted April 11, 2021 at 10:26 am by

Contributed Image/CDC

From San Juan County

Orcas Island

There are no new cas­es on Orcas Island since the last update, and no con­firmed pos­i­tive cas­es under active mon­i­tor­ing on Orcas Island at this time.

Lopez Island

There are no new cas­es on Lopez Island since the last update, and no con­firmed pos­i­tive cas­es under active mon­i­tor­ing on Lopez Island at this time.

San Juan Island

There are 13 new cas­es since the last report on San Juan Island.

Nine of these cas­es are relat­ed to a recent school ath­let­ics-based out­break, six are stu­dents and three are house­hold contacts.

Two of these cas­es are relat­ed to indi­vid­u­als from a sin­gle house­hold and out-of-state travel.

Two of these cas­es are house­hold con­tacts of pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed pos­i­tive cases.

There are 12 pos­i­tive cas­es under active mon­i­tor­ing on San Juan Island at this time.


The past two weeks have been a real chal­lenge for the San Juan Coun­ty Health and Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices Con­tact Trac­ing Team.

For near­ly every per­son in quar­an­tine, there were at least sev­er­al more who need­ed to be inter­viewed and cleared.

With more than 100 peo­ple in quar­an­tine, the scale of the work­load is enormous.

Yet, con­tact trac­ing and quar­an­ti­ning close con­tacts is the very foun­da­tion of an effec­tive effort to con­tain the spread of the ill­ness. The con­tact trac­ing team wants to extend its grat­i­tude to the many islanders who took the time to answer numer­ous ques­tions, share details of their dai­ly lives, and in some cas­es, quar­an­tine them­selves for the greater good of the community.

If we want to lim­it spread, we need to lim­it expo­sure. The points of trans­mis­sion we’re see­ing are not when peo­ple are ful­ly masked, and they’re not when peo­ple are outdoors.

It doesn’t appear to be the school class­room set­ting (fin­gers crossed it stays that way), nor when peo­ple are play­ing sports and main­tain­ing pre­cau­tions. Spread hap­pens via close unmasked con­tact. Some ways this can hap­pen are shar­ing a meal indoors, work­ing in close prox­im­i­ty while unmasked, rid­ing in a vehi­cle unmasked, or social­iz­ing or gath­er­ing indoors. Lim­it­ing spread in the com­mu­ni­ty means pre­vent­ing these high-risk activities.

The next week or two will reveal a lot. Was this an iso­lat­ed out­break and were we able to con­tain it? Or, has it already spread beyond those in quar­an­tine? Will we see sim­i­lar out­breaks on all islands as peo­ple trav­el for spring break, con­tin­ue to relax their pre­cau­tions, and trans­mit the dis­ease to the island community?

Clear­ly, schools have the poten­tial to be high-risk envi­ron­ments. The impor­tant les­son is that it is only through very dis­ci­plined adher­ence to mask­ing and oth­er safe­ty pro­to­cols in the schools that safe­ty can be main­tained. Encour­ag­ing all staff and stu­dents to close­ly fol­low and enforce guide­lines is critical.

The new vari­ants spread more eas­i­ly. Like­ly the new vari­ants are here or will be here soon. The pre­cau­tions we’re tak­ing mat­ter and are our best chance of avoid­ing a roll-back to full lockdown.

COVID can be a bru­tal and long-last­ing ill­ness, even for those who are young or healthy. While our old­er res­i­dents are at the high­est risk for severe impacts, even what is mea­sured as “mild” COVID can lead to extend­ed sick­ness and side effects, includ­ing a much-dimin­ished abil­i­ty to engage in exer­cise or oth­er activities.

While the vac­ci­na­tion effort is encour­ag­ing, we’re not far enough along to relax. Hope­ful­ly soon.

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