Coronavirus hits Pierce County with four cases as of Sunday

Coronavirus hits Pierce County with four cases as of Sunday
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced the first known case of the coronavirus in the county Friday night. (KIRO 7 News Staff)

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Pierce County is being hit with the coronavirus.

The first known case of coronavirus in the county was confirmed Friday and additional cases were confirmed over the weekend, bringing the total to four.

Friday evening, officials with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department confirmed the patient was a Gig Harbor man in his 50s undergoing treatment at St. Anthony’s Hospital. He first reported symptoms similar to those related to COVID-19 to his personal physician before his condition worsened. He remains hospitalized and is now recovering, according to health department director Dr. Anthony Chen.

Content Continues Below

It’s not known how the man, whose identity has not been made public, contracted the virus but health department officials say he has not traveled internationally and has had no known contact with anyone who has traveled to a country where coronavirus outbreaks have occurred. Health department officials interviewed the man to determine who he has made contact with over the past several weeks.

On Saturday, two others tested positive. One person was hospitalized and another is in self-quarantine at home.

Both are Tacoma residents: a woman in her 30s and a man in his 40s.

The woman was discharged from Good Samaritan Hospital. The man is being treated at Tacoma General Hospital.

On Sunday, another case was announced; a Lakewood woman in her 30s.

On Saturday, Tacoma Public School officials said Mary Lyon Elementary would be closed for several days because a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

That staff member has not been identified.

The situation in Pierce County remains much different from the coronavirus outbreak in King County. No deaths have been reported in Pierce and the number of cases has not gone past five as yet.

Events like the annual high school basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome got underway as scheduled. “Currently we’re not calling for the cancellation of events, we’re not calling for the cancellation of schools. This is much more of a business as usual, but obviously with prudent measures in place,” said Nigel Turner, director of the communicable diseases department.

A husband and wife living at the Solstice Senior Living facility at Point Defiance placed themselves in voluntary quarantine after exposure to a relative who developed suspected COVID-19 symptoms. The two are not sick, according to executive director Lisa Meinecke, and the relative has so far not tested positive for the virus.

Coronavirus fears are affecting the University of Washington Tacoma, as university officials decided to move all classes online at all campuses beginning Monday. That’s frustrating for students Adriana Vega and Miryam Al Darraji. Both are majoring in biomedical science and have final exams coming up.

“How are they going to do it online? It’s stressful,” said Al Darraji. “They’re adding pressure at us right now, and we’re freaking out.”

"It is kind of stressful because of finals,” Vega said.