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News / Health / Clark County Health

Clark County COVID-19 activity rate hits plateau

Public Health changes reporting to align with state and CDC

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 31, 2022, 2:57pm

Clark County reported that its COVID-19 activity rate plateaued this week, meaning the precipitous drop in cases that began in February has ended. The rate of new hospitalizations continued to decrease this week, however.

The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 population over 14 days, rose from 53.9 last week to 54.5 as of Thursday, according to the Washington State Department of Health. The lowest rate recorded since Clark County Public Health began reporting the statistic in July 2020 was 50.1 the week of July 22, 2021.

This week, Clark County Public Health began reporting the seven-day rate rather than 14-day rate to align with reporting from the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven-day rate of new cases was 26.2 per 100,000 this week, according to Public Health.

Public Health reported a total of 423 new cases this week, with 393 confirmed by molecular testing, for 73,698 to date, and 30 using antigen testing, for 14,336.

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 reported in a week 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 decreased this week.

New hospitalizations this week fell from 2.6 to 1.4 per 100,000 residents over seven days, according to Public Health.

As of Tuesday, 98.2 percent of Clark County’s hospital beds and 98.2 percent of its ICU beds were occupied. Hospitals reported that 23 beds — accounting for 4.1 percent of hospital beds and zero ICU beds — were occupied by people with or suspected of having COVID-19.

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Seven new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Clark County this week. The deaths include two men in their 60s, one man and one woman in their 70s and two men 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 789. 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 28, 65.2 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.

People who are 50 years and older and certain immunocompromised people can now get a second booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least four months after getting their first booster dose.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters continue to be free, and Clark County medical clinics and pharmacies have adequate supply of vaccine, according to Clark County Public Health. People who are eligible for a second booster dose can contact their medical provider or a local pharmacy to schedule a vaccination appointment.

People can find vaccine locations near them by:

“Getting vaccinated and boosted, when eligible, provides the best protection against COVID-19,” said Clark County Public Health spokeswoman Marissa Armstrong in an email. “In Clark County, only 56 percent of fully vaccinated people who are eligible for their first booster dose (those 12 years and older) have received a booster. We urge everyone who has not yet gotten vaccinated or is who eligible for a booster and hasn’t received it to make a vaccination appointment.”