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May 27, 2022

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Clark County schools’ COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Staffing shortages, delays in test results continue, districts say

By , Columbian staff writer

Clark County schools are maintaining the sky-high COVID-19 rates seen in recent weeks, according to new data.

Schools on Wednesday reported 1,688 new virus cases among students and staff, a slight increase from the 1,678 cases recorded last week.

Health officials have warned that the increased use of at-home tests and difficulties providing in-office tests means that the true number of COVID-19 infections is likely to exceed the official statistics.

Districts have continued reporting they’re having issues with both testing and contact tracing, as staffing shortages plague schools throughout Clark County.

The following data can be found for each school district on the Clark County Public Health website. It is typically updated by each district weekly.

  • Evergreen Public Schools reported 334 new cases between Jan. 17 and Jan. 25 — a decrease from the 622 cases reported last week.

Evergreen Public Schools spokesperson Craig Birnbach said fluctuations in the district’s week-by-week case totals since the return from winter break can be attributed to delayed testing results. Connectivity issues across the district led to lags in case data from Mountain View High School and other schools, which contributed to an inflated estimated total observed between Jan. 9 and Jan. 16, he said.

“These data lags will probably continue at least in the short term as we continue to have some nurses, quarantine staff members and administrators out,” Birnbach said. “Staff is doing the best they can to get the data inputted in a timely matter.”

  • Vancouver Public Schools reported 277 new cases between Jan. 19 and Jan. 25 — the highest weekly total the district has seen since launching its dashboard in August. Last week, Vancouver reported 226 new cases of the virus.
  • Battle Ground Public Schools reported 436 new cases between Jan. 15 and Jan. 21 — an increase from 392 cases the previous week.
  • Camas School District reported 289 new cases between Jan. 16 and Jan. 22 — a decrease from 312 cases in the previous week.
  • Ridgefield School District reported 108 new cases between Jan. 18 and Jan. 25 — more than doubling last week’s reported total of 52.
  • Hockinson School District reported 77 new cases between Jan. 20 and Jan. 26 — the same as the previous seven days. The district also shared that it has identified 52 students and staff as close contacts and that another 47 students are out sick with potential COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Washougal School District reported 86 new COVID-19 cases between Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 — nearly three times last week’s case total of 31.
  • La Center School District reported 81 new cases between Jan. 15 and Jan. 21, a decrease from 89 cases last week.

School districts are reporting that they are continuing to follow guidance from Clark County Public Health and the Washington State Department of Health, which have not changed any of their recommendations since the onset of the omicron surge.

This week marks the final week of Vancouver Public Schools’ three-week rotating remote schedule that was implemented on Jan. 10 to alleviate the district’s shortage of bus drivers. Even with fewer students and staff meeting in person, Vancouver reported 68 positive cases among staff. That is the most since starting the online dashboard.

Vancouver’s testing center for students and staff at the Jim Parsley Center Complex is operating on a limited schedule from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday and Thursday and will be closed Friday. District spokesperson Patricia Nuzzo hopes that the testing center will reopen at full capacity on Monday.

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