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Sept. 25, 2022

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Clark County’s COVID-19 activity rate and hospitalizations decrease; CDC eases guidelines

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Clark County’s COVID-19 activity rate and hospitalizations decreased this week, and the county remains at low risk for disease transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 population over seven days, fell from 153.2 last week to 121.2 as of Thursday, according to Clark County Public Health data. Public Health reported 662 new cases this week, for 102,722 to date.

The drop in disease activity comes as the CDC begins easing COVID-19 guidelines. The agency announced Thursday it is loosening several of its restrictions, including quarantining and physical distancing requirements.

The agency no longer recommends staying 6 feet away from other people and said that contract tracing should be limited to hospitals and high-risk, group-living situations.

People who are exposed to the virus no longer need to quarantine at home, regardless of their vaccination status; although, they should wear a mask for 10 days and get tested for the virus on day five, according to the new guidelines.

Masking recommendations have not changed: The CDC only recommends wearing masks indoors in places where risk of transmission is high.

“We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools — like vaccination, boosters and treatments — to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” Greta Massetti, a CDC epidemiologist, said in a news release. “We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks, testing and improved ventilation. This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”

The CDC determines a county’s risk level based on its current number of cases, hospitalizations and overall hospital occupancy.

Recommendations for low-risk counties include staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if you have symptoms. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should stay home for at least five days, according to the CDC.

If you test positive for COVID-19 with an at-home test, call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127 to report your result.

New hospitalizations fell this week from 12.2 to 8.6 per 100,000 residents over seven days, according to Public Health.

As of Monday, 99.1 percent of Clark County hospital beds and 100 percent of ICU beds were occupied. Hospitals reported that 54 beds — accounting for 10.2 percent of hospital beds and 9.4 percent of ICU beds — were occupied by people with or suspected of having COVID-19, according to Public Health.

Clark County reported five deaths from COVID-19 this week. The deaths include one man in his 50s, one man in his 60s, one man and one woman in their 70s and one man age 80 or older.

The new deaths push the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Clark County to 887. Deaths are typically added to the county’s total 10 to 12 days after they occur.

The Washington State Department of Health reported that as of Monday, 63.3 percent of Clark County residents age 6 months or older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are at higher risk of becoming very sick, you may be eligible for treatments that can help prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. Treatments such as antivirals and monoclonal antibodies are available, but treatment must begin within several days of testing positive or developing symptoms, according to Public Health.

Learn more about COVID-19 treatments on the state Department of Health website.

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