Wednesday, March 22, 2023
March 22, 2023

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Clark County COVID-19 infections up slightly this week

By , Columbian staff reporter

Clark County’s rate of COVID-19 infections rose slightly this week, though not by a large margin and the county remains in the low-risk category for disease transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on its current number of cases, hospitalizations and overall hospital occupancy.

The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 population over seven days, rose from 43.1 last week to 43.3 as of Thursday, according to Clark County Public Health data.

Public Health reported 230 new cases this week, pushing the total recorded cases to 106,817 to date. Two new deaths were reported this week, bringing county totals to 951. Deaths are typically reported 10 to 12 days after they occur, according to Public Health.

The COVID-19 numbers are an undercount as many people take at-home tests and do not always report the results, according to Clark County Public Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick.

“The COVID-19 case rate in Clark County is currently the lowest it’s been since spring, however, we are entering the time of year when we see increased transmission of respiratory viruses, including influenza, RSV and COVID-19,” Melnick said.

Clark County hospitals remain near capacity with 96.6 percent of hospital beds and 94.6 percent of intensive care beds occupied, slightly down from last week.

Patients with or suspected of having COVID-19 accounted for 8 percent of hospital beds, up from 7.3 percent last week, while 14.3 percent of ICU beds were occupied by patients with or suspected of having COVID-19, up from 10.2 percent last week.

Hospitals in Clark County were treating 42 people with or suspected of having COVID-19 as of this week, slightly up from 41 last week and 37 the week before. The rate of new hospital admissions over seven days rose to 5.2 per 100,000, up from four last week.

“During bad respiratory illness seasons, hospitals can become overwhelmed, making it difficult for everyone to get care. Getting vaccinated and taking additional precautions will prevent illness and hospitalizations, and help to reduce the burden on our hospitals,” Melnick said.

Steps to reduce the spread of illnesses, according to Melnick, include staying up to date on vaccines, frequent handwashing, avoiding spending time with those who are sick and wearing a mask in crowded indoor places, especially if you or someone you know is at a higher risk for severe illness.

If you test positive for COVID-19 with an at-home test, health officials ask that you report it to the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127. The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least five days upon testing positive and wear a mask if going out for five additional days.

The CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older get an updated bivalent COVID-19 booster, which is safe to get along with a flu vaccine, according to Melnick.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available all across the county. For more information on where to schedule a vaccine or booster visit