Monday, August 15, 2022
Aug. 15, 2022

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Clark County still at medium transmission risk, despite rising COVID-19 activity rate

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Clark County’s COVID-19 activity rate increased this week, and the county remains at medium risk for disease transmission.

The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 population over seven days, rose from 145 last week to 178.3 as of Thursday, according to Clark County Public Health data. Public Health reported 930 new cases this week.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowered Clark County’s COVID-19 risk level from “high” to “medium.” Despite the increase in disease activity this week, Clark County remains at medium risk. The CDC determines a county’s risk level based on its current number of cases, hospitalizations and overall hospital occupancy.

Recommendations for medium-risk counties include staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if you have symptoms. Masks are not required in medium-risk counties, though masks and social distancing are still recommended for people at high risk for serious illness. People who are exposed to COVID-19 or who are showing symptoms are still required to follow quarantine guidelines.

Clark County Public Health officials still suggest wearing masks in crowded settings, especially because disease activity could be higher than reported due to unreported positive at-home tests.

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.

Hospital use

New hospitalizations this week fell from 10 to 9.4 per 100,000 residents over seven days, according to Public Health.

Despite the decrease in new hospitalizations, occupancy remains high.

As of July 14, 97.7 percent of Clark County hospital beds and 94.1 percent of ICU beds were occupied. Hospitals reported that 66 beds — accounting for 12.6 percent of hospital beds and 11.8 percent of ICU beds — were occupied by people with or suspected of having COVID-19, according to Public Health.

Hospitals across Washington are overcrowded and understaffed, according to the Washington State Hospital Association. The union is now calling on the state government to change guardianship requirements for those needing to move to long-term care, fund bed readiness programs statewide, expand rapid response teams for long-term care facilities and increase support for child and adult respite services.

“Many of our hospitals, especially (in Western Washington), are more strained today than really at any other point since the pandemic began,” said Dr. Steve Mitchell, medical director of the Washington Medical Coordination Center, at a July 19 news conference.

Six deaths

Clark County also reported six more deaths from COVID-19 this week. The deaths include one woman in her 60s and one man and four women age 80 or older.

The new deaths push the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Clark County to 865. 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, 63.1 percent of Clark County residents age 6 months or older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Despite high levels of reinfection among vaccinated people and people who have been previously infected, getting vaccinated and boosted still provides the best protection against severe disease, according to Public Health.

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 like 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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