Thursday, October 29, 2020
Oct. 29, 2020

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Clark County COVID-19 activity at record-high levels in latest report

Index measuring activity tops 100 for the first time; one new death reported Tuesday

By , Columbian Metro Editor

Clark County has passed a milestone — going the wrong way — for school opening on Tuesday as its COVID-19 activity rate exceeded 100 for the first time. One new death was reported.

The fatality was a man age 80 or older with no underlying conditions, according to Clark County Public Health. His death brings the county’s total deaths from COVID-19 to 64 since the pandemic began.

Clark County recorded 23 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the county’s total to 3,979 to date. Cases have been surging since late summer, dashing the hopes of an end to remote learning.

As of Tuesday, Clark County’s COVID-19 activity level stood at 100.1; the threshold for “high” activity under the state’s reopening guidelines is 75 new cases per 100,000 population over a two-week period.

Under state Department of Health guidelines, schools in counties where the transmission rate is above 75 new cases per 100,000 residents should keep classes online and postpone or cancel all sports or extracurricular activities.

Small groups of high-needs students, including those who are homeless or those with disabilities, may attend some classes, and elementary schools in the Evergreen Public Schools district recently started bringing small groups of kindergartners into the classroom on a limited basis.

Activity levels had been 31.3 per 100,000 population as of June 2, and 19.45 on June 26 earlier in the pandemic before surging to as high as 99.7 in July.

Activity levels ebbed to the moderate level of 63.1 in the week ending Aug. 31, raising hopes of more in-person education, but case numbers began rising after the Labor Day weekend, boosting activity levels from 64.07 on Sept. 7 to 69.4 on Sept. 14; 76.15 on Sept. 21; 86.18 on Sept. 28; and 95.6 on Oct. 6.

Clark County must remain at the moderate transmission level, between 25 and 75 cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days, for three weeks before Clark County Public Heath will recommend reopening schools to more students. That three-week countdown cannot begin until the activity level returns to “moderate” levels.

There are 20 people hospitalized in Clark County with COVID-19 and nine people hospitalized awaiting test results, according to Public Health. The number of active cases, which counts positive cases still in their isolation period, was 135 on Tuesday.