Friday, March 24, 2023
March 24, 2023

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Clark County reports 28 new COVID-19 deaths, a record number

Hospitals remain at capacity as case rates continue to jump

By , Columbian staff writer

Clark County reported 28 new deaths due to COVID-19 this week, the most reported in a seven-day period since the pandemic began.

The deaths include one woman in her 30s, one man in his 40s, three men and one woman in their 50s, three men and one woman in their 60s, three men and two women in their 70s and seven men and six women age 80 or older, according to information released Thursday by Clark County Public Health.

The 28 new deaths follow 16 last week and push the death toll from COVID-19 in Clark County to 667. The previous record for deaths was 25 for the week ending Sept. 23, during the delta variant wave. Deaths are added to the county’s total 10 to 12 days after they occur.

The new deaths come as the highly contagious omicron variant continues to spread wildly throughout Clark County. Hospitalizations dipped slightly this week but remain alarmingly high.

The rate of new hospital admissions dipped this week from 19.2 per 100,000 residents over seven days to 17.6 per 100,000 over seven days, according to Public Health data. It is the first time the rate has fallen in more than two weeks.

But hospital occupancy remains high. As of Tuesday, 97.7 percent of Clark County’s hospital beds and 96.4 percent of its ICU beds were occupied. Hospitals reported that 118 beds — accounting for 23.3 percent of hospital beds and 32.7 percent of ICU beds — were occupied by people with or suspected of having COVID-19.

The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 population over 14 days, increased from 2,205.9 per 100,000 last week to 2,549.1 as of Thursday. Any rate higher than 200 is considered high by health officials.

Public Health reported a total of 4,207 new cases this week, with 1,674 confirmed by molecular testing, for 60,277 to date, and 2,533 using antigen testing, for 11,962.

Combined, the new cases work out to an average of about 601 new cases per day, down from about 1,379 new cases per day last week.

The actual number of new cases is likely even higher due to unreported at-home tests, according to Clark County Public Health officials.

The number of active cases still in their isolation period increased to 6,706 this week, up from 6,039 last week, according to Public Health.

The Washington Department of Health reported that as of Jan. 21, 67.9 percent of Clark County residents age 12 or older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

While breakthrough cases are occurring due to the highly contagious omicron variant, getting vaccinated remains the best way to protect yourself from severe symptoms, according to Public Health officials.

Hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 occur disproportionately among the unvaccinated, according to Public Health data.

Columbian staff writer