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First Pierce County COVID-19 patients return home.

On Monday, we confirmed the 38th case of COVID-19 in Pierce County. But we also have some good news to share.

Several of our COVID-19 patients have already been discharged from the hospital. That includes Pierce County’s first case, which we announced March 5. Several more are recovering well at home and never needed hospital care.

DO: Protect your family. DO NOT: Panic.

Once you have followed basic steps to protect your physical health, take one more to protect your mental health: Do not panic. Many people who are ill right now do not have COVID-19. And most infected people do not become very sick.

In most of our cases, patients experienced mild symptoms and are recovering. Our hospitals are only caring for a few people with COVID-19 right now. For privacy reasons, we cannot tell you more about their health. But those patients receive excellent care and hospital staff watch them closely.

COVID-19 testing

A healthcare provider uses a stethoscope on a patientTesting for COVID-19 is rapidly increasing in Washington and across the country. The State Public Health Laboratories and the University of Washington Virology Lab are already up and running. These two labs have already conducted more than 9,000 tests in Washington. UW set a goal of 5,000 tests every day. Commercial labs across the state began testing samples as well.

Those tests so far include more than 700 Pierce County residents. Only 5% of all tests conducted in Pierce County have been positive for COVID-19. More are tested every day.

As testing increases, the number of reported cases will likely increase as well. Test results help us understand how the virus spreads. Health officials use this information to make decisions to slow the spread of COVID-19.