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Sunday, June 4, 2023
June 4, 2023

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Clark County records 24 deaths from COVID-19, the most on record, as hospitalizations rise

The fatalities include the first person in their 20s since the pandemic began

By , Columbian Metro Editor

Clark County recorded 24 deaths from COVID-19 in the past seven days as new hospital admissions rose by 31 percent over last week’s levels.

The deaths bring the toll from COVID-19 to 373 deaths since the pandemic began, according to data from Clark County Public Health. The 24 deaths was the highest number of fatalities from COVID-19 reported in a seven-day period in Clark County that did not include adjustments to previous totals.

Those deaths included the first person in their 20s to have died from COVID-19, according to Public Health data. Other fatalities included one person in their 30s, one person in their 40s, four people in their 50s, two people in their 60s, nine people in their 70s and six people age 80 and older.

Information about underlying conditions was not available, but nine of the fatalities were female, 11 were male and the gender of two others was not known, according to Public Health.

Clark County’s rate of new hospital admissions rose to 20.2 per 100,000 over seven days, up 31 percent from 15.4 the week before, as the delta variant continues to spread through the region.

Public Health reported Thursday that 99 percent of Clark County’s hospital beds and 98.4 percent of its ICU beds were occupied as of Tuesday. Patients with or suspected of having COVID-19 accounted for 60.3 percent of ICU beds and 27.7 percent of all beds.

The vast majority of those hospitalizations are of people who were not fully vaccinated. Current data isn’t available at the county level, but a report by PeaceHealth of its hospitals in Alaska, Washington and Oregon indicated that, as of Tuesday, it was treating 207 patients with COVID-19 who were not fully vaccinated and 47 who were fully vaccinated.

The hospital chain reported 51 patients in the ICU on a ventilator, with 48 of them not fully vaccinated and three who were. It reported 22 patients in the ICU who were not on a ventilator, with 19 not fully vaccinated and three who were. It reported 181 patients hospitalized but not in the ICU, with 140 not fully vaccinated and 41 who were.

Health officials have stressed that, while so-called breakthrough cases are possible in fully vaccinated individuals, being fully vaccinated greatly reduces the chances of severe illness, hospitalization or death. For example, PeaceHealth’s data shows that 81.5 percent of its total COVID-19 patients and 94.1 percent of its ICU patients on a ventilator had not been fully vaccinated.

Hospitalizations and deaths lag behind initial infections as the disease progresses. New case data shows the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remained high in Clark County but had eased slightly in the seven days since Sept. 9, with 506.1 new cases per 100,000 population over two weeks, down from a rate of 549.3 the week before, according to Public Health data.

Public Health reported a total of 1,218 new cases over seven days, for an average of 174 new cases a day, down from an average of 193.71 cases last week and 228.85 the week before, but still well over the a rate of about 13 cases a day in early July.

Those new cases included 1,022 that were confirmed by molecular PCR testing, for a total of 31,999 to date, and 196 new probable cases diagnosed by rapid antigen testing, for a total of 3,030 to date.

The number of active cases also dipped from last week’s level, with 1,383 people who were still in their isolation period after testing positive for COVID-19, from from 1,511 last week, according to Public Health data.