Clark County’s COVID-19 outbreak grew explosively Tuesday, with the highest-ever, one-day increase in coronavirus cases and deaths since the pandemic began.
Clark County Public Health reported 166 new cases on Tuesday — the highest previous total for a single day was 95 cases on Friday — and four new deaths.
The four fatalities are a man in his 70s with no underlying health conditions, a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions, a man in his 70s with no underlying health conditions and a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions.
The deaths bring the county’s death toll from COVID-19 to 77. Three people died from COVID-19 last week.
To date, COVID-19 has infected 5,783 people in Clark County. Tuesday’s report follows a three-day total of 289 new cases since Friday. The total number of cases has more than doubled since Sept. 10.
The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests rose to 7.08 percent in the week of Oct. 18-24, the most recent data available from Public Health.
|Date range||Positive tests||Total tests||Percent positive|
|Sept. 27-Oct. 3||243||6,808||3.57%|
Cases are rising across the state. The Washington State Department of Health reported 1,239 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 21 deaths since Friday.
“I am extremely concerned about what seems to be an accelerating trend in the spread of COVID-19,” State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy said in a statement released Tuesday. “Immediate action is needed from all of us to avoid new restrictions and prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.”
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Clark County rose to 45, up from 37 Monday; the number of people hospitalized awaiting test results rose to eight, according to Public Health.
“This situation is extraordinarily urgent, and we’re running out of time to change direction,” Lofy said. “We need everyone in Washington state to take action now to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The number of active cases, a measure of those still in their isolation period, rose to 349 on Tuesday. It had been 336 on Monday.
The explosion in COVID-19 cases in recent days pushed the number of cases over two weeks per 100,000 population to 171.55, up 40 from one week earlier and even farther into the “high” range for COVID-19 activity.
Here are the previous activity levels calculated since early October. All are in the “high” range.
- Oct. 5: 95.60 cases per 100,000.
- Oct. 12: 100.1 cases per 100,000.
- Oct. 19: 115.05 cases per 100,000
- Oct. 26: 123.85 cases per 100,000.
- Nov. 2: 131.42 cases per 100,000.
- Nov. 9: 171.55 cases per 100,000.
Increasing community spread
Clark County Public Health data from October shows community transmission continues to increase.
About 56 percent of the 1,265 COVID-19 cases interviewed by Public Health in October had a likely source of exposure.
Out of those 709 cases with a likely exposure, 42 percent, or 299 cases, likely contracted the virus within their own household, meaning one household member to another.
That means the majority of known exposures for October happened in the community. The percentage of exposures traced back to the household has dropped over the last four months, according to Public Health’s data.
In September, about 46 percent of cases with an identified likely exposure were traced to household transmission. In August, that percentage was 47, and in July, it was 45.
Private social gatherings continue to be the second-largest spreader of the virus, by a wide margin. The 126 people who likely contracted the virus at a small private gathering in October make up 18 percent of October’s cases with a likely exposure.
That percentage lines up with data from July through September, when that percentage vacillated between a low of 16 percent and a high of 21 percent.
There are no other major sources of exposures, but exposures in office spaces, health care facilities, long-term care facilities, and manufacturing/warehouse facilities combine to make up nearly 20 percent of exposures in October.
Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick has warned the public about increasing community transmission for months now. Melnick has asked people to avoid gathering as much as possible and to follow space and face-covering guidelines if they do gather.