Clark County reported yet another drop in its COVID-19 activity rate and hospitalizations this week, as well as the fewest number of deaths since the week of Sept. 2.
The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 population over 14 days, fell from 77.9 last week to 53.9 as of Thursday. It is the lowest rate recorded since the week of July 22, when the activity rate was 50.1, the lowest rate since Clark County Public Health began reporting that statistic in July 2020.
Public Health reported a total of 734 new cases this week, with 699 confirmed by molecular testing, for 73,305 to date, and 35 using antigen testing, for 14,306.
The Washington Department of Health is clearing a backlog of cases caused by reporting delays during the omicron surge. As a result, some cases added to the total this week may have occurred earlier. Because of this, the activity rate provides a more accurate picture of virus activity compared to the number of new cases reported in a week, according to Public Health.
The activity rate reflects the number of cases in the 14-day window based on when a test was administered, not when it was reported.
New hospitalizations and the number of hospitalized patients suspected of having COVID-19 also decreased this week.
New hospitalizations this week fell from 6.4 to 2.6 per 100,000 residents over seven days, according to Public Health.
As of Tuesday, 96.4 percent of Clark County’s hospital beds and 96.4 percent of its ICU beds were occupied. Hospitals reported that 27 beds — accounting for 5.1 percent of hospital beds and 3.6 percent of ICU beds — were occupied by people with or suspected of having COVID-19.
Four new deaths were reported in Clark County this week. The deaths include two men and one woman in their 70s and one woman age 80 or older.
The new deaths push the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Clark County to 782. Deaths are added to the county’s total typically 10 to 12 days after they occur.
The Washington State Department of Health reported that as of March 18, 64.9 percent of Clark County residents age 5 or older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Levels — a data tool that determines a county’s COVID-19 risk level based on its current number of cases, hospitalizations and overall hospital occupancy — Clark County is at low risk, along with every county in Washington.
Recommendations for residents of low-risk counties include staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if you have symptoms. Masks are not required in low-risk counties. However, masks and social distancing are still recommended for people at high risk for serious illness. Additionally, people who are exposed to COVID-19 or who are showing symptoms are still required to follow quarantine guidelines.