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Republic Covid Outbreak Eases; More Residents Get Tested, Vaccinated

Courtesy of Ferry County Memorial Hospital

The Covid outbreak that hit the small Ferry County town of Republic in April is slowly abating.

The outbreak was triggered by one or more gatherings at a local social club.  

For the first time in a few weeks, administrators at the Ferry County Memorial Hospital say there say they saw no new cases over the weekend.Cindy Chase, the chief nursing officer, says 125 residents have tested positive in during the last month, compared to 76 positive tests for the entire year between March 2020 and March 2021.

She says the people coming to the hospital with Covid symptoms are often really sick. Nine residents have been airlifted to other hospitals in the last three weeks. Two people have died.

“It really affects a small community when people are now dying. It’s a reality check because there were folks here that really didn’t think Covid existed," she said.

Chase spoke Monday at a media briefing hosted by the Washington State Hospital Association. Now that they see it does exist, she says the skepticism has lessened. There are now lines for Covid testing and more people are being vaccinated.

“Many have said it’s really because of the outbreak. It’s kind of scared them and so they opted to go ahead and get vaccinated, which they probably would not have," she said.

That extends to health care workers as well. The administration offered $500 bonuses for fully-vaccinated employees and seven people accepted.

Chase says health authorities are trying to be gentle with their public messaging.

“Get in, get tested. It’s ok. We’re not going to blab it to everybody around the county that you have Covid," she said.

Chase says local volunteers are helping to vaccinate people. The WSU College of Medicine is sending its mobile van this week to help with that.