Commissioner Dean tests positive for COVID-19

Posted 5/11/22

Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday night.

Dean, the District 1 commissioner, said she had a positive test for the virus while getting ready for a Monday …

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Commissioner Dean tests positive for COVID-19


Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday night.

Dean, the District 1 commissioner, said she had a positive test for the virus while getting ready for a Monday flight to Washington, D.C.

Dean’s absence was noted at the morning session of the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners Monday. In an email to The Leader, Dean said she had taken a test the night before “just to be cautious and respectful of other passengers.”

“I was shocked when the results came back positive because I had no symptoms whatsoever,” Dean said.

“I canceled the trip, which is unfortunate because I had a number of meetings scheduled with our federal delegation about infrastructure funding that could support environmental projects. But instead I will be stuck in my room for five days, hoping nobody else in my family contracts the virus,” she added.

Dean said she woke up with minor symptoms, and noted she had been vaccinated and had also gotten a booster shot.

“I’m hoping that it stays gentle on me, and trying to not be too disappointed at the lost opportunity in D.C. this week,” Dean said.

Dean joins a growing list of local leaders who have gotten COVID-19. In recent weeks and months, County Commissioner Greg Brotherton, State Rep. Mike Chapman of the 24th Legislative District, and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer of Washington’s 6th District have tested positive for COVID.

Dean said she had been vigilant in taking precautions against getting the coronavirus but had gotten the virus nonetheless.

“I had a lot of awkward phone calls to make since I had just spent Mother’s Day with family and friends,” Dean noted.

“I am hoping that because I was asymptomatic that I was also less contagious. Also, we were mostly outdoors and in well-ventilated spaces. But it is frustrating, because I have been so careful for so long and now I have no idea where I contracted it,” Dean added. 

“I have been masking at work and in stores since our numbers started to climb again a few weeks ago.”

Jefferson County reported a total of 3,603 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county Monday (cumulative since the start of the pandemic in early March 2020).

A total of 111 active cases were in isolation, and one resident remains hospitalized. Since the start of the pandemic, 28 residents have died from the disease.

During Monday’s pandemic briefing at the commissioners’ meeting, Jefferson County Public Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry noted that her own family, as well, was having a bout of COVID.

“On my end, we’ve had a Mother’s Day surprise of having COVID-19 come to my family,” Berry told commissioners.

COVID-19 cases are rising nationally, Berry added, rising
50 percent in the last two weeks.

“We’re also seeing hospitalizations rise 20 percent in the last two weeks in the United States as a whole, driven particularly by what’s going on in the Northeast,” she said.

Case rates and hospitalizations in Washington state are also on the rise, driven primarily by cases in King and Snohomish counties.

“We’re primarily seeing hospitalizations among those who are unvaccinated, or to a smaller degree, in our elders who have not received their first booster,” Berry said. “We are not seeing hospitalizations of those who have received their full vaccine ... and their boosters.”

Berry said a campaign to provide second boosters for long-term care residents has started.

“At this point we have a high, contagious virus. We have a ton of it circulating in our community and in the state as a whole,” Berry said.

Berry again urged those who have not yet gotten vaccinated to get their shots.

“The most important thing is to get that vaccine. Get that booster,” she said.

She also recommended that people wear masks.

“I would say, looking at the rate of COVID-19 in our region, if you are in an indoor space like a grocery store, or like a party where you’re meeting up with folks, if there more than 10 people in that space, there’s a pretty significant probability that someone there has COVID.

“So it’s a good idea to wear a high-quality mask in those spaces at this time,” Berry said.


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