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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Dec. 9, 2023

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‘Tripledemic’ tightens its grip on Clark County

Hospitals still near capacity

By , Columbian staff reporter

As Clark County continues to be in the midst of a tripledemic of respiratory illnesses, COVID-19 cases continue to rise alongside cases of the flu and RSV.

“(We) want to remind people that COVID-19 is still very much active in our communities,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, chief science officer for Washington State Department of Health, at a media briefing Tuesday. “We’ve also seen an increase in hospitalizations in recent weeks. So it’s really important not to let our guard down especially as people prepare for celebrations and prepare to travel to spend time with family and loved ones this holiday season.”

The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 population over seven days, rose from 87.5 on Dec. 8 to 88.7 as of Thursday, according to Clark County Public Health data.

This week, 405 new cases were reported, bringing county totals to 108,953. Public Health reported three new deaths, bringing totals to 977. Deaths are usually recorded 10-12 days after they occur.

Clark County hospitals remain near capacity with 98.7 percent of hospital beds and 97.4 percent of intensive care beds occupied.

Patients with or suspected of having COVID-19 occupied 15 percent of hospital beds this week, up from 13.1 percent on Dec. 8. Patients with or suspected of having COVID-19 occupied 12.8 percent of ICU beds, up from 8.5 percent Dec. 8.

Hospitals in Clark County were treating 83 people with or suspected of having COVID-19 as of this week, up from 75 people Dec. 8. The rate of new hospital admissions over seven days slightly rose to 9.6 per 100,000, up from 9.4 last week.

As hospitals continue to remain near capacity, health officials are urging the community to take steps to avoid the emergency department if possible. One way to do that is to call your primary care provider or a nurse advice line if you or a family member are sick.

“We’re continuing to ask Washingtonians to do your part by staying updated on your vaccines, whether that’s COVID-19 boosters, whether that’s influenza, wearing a mask in crowded spaces with others, washing your hands, staying home if sick and being tested,” said Dr. Umair Shah, secretary of health for Washington State Department of Health, in a media briefing.

If you test positive for COVID-19 with an at-home test, health officials ask that you report it to the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you stay home for at least five days upon testing positive and wear a mask if going out for five additional days.

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Columbian staff reporter