Clark County’s COVID-19 activity rate is steadily increasing

Clark County’s reported COVID-19 activity rate rose this week as disease activity continues to rise.

The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 people over seven days, rose to 217.5 on Thursday from 165.7 last week, according to data from Clark County Public Health.

New hospital admissions this week rose from 7.4 to 7.8 per 100,000 population in a seven-day period, according to Public Health.

As of Tuesday, 94.7 percent of Clark County hospital beds and 84.6 percent of ICU beds were occupied. Hospitals reported that 28 beds — accounting for 15 percent of hospital beds and 31.5 percent of ICU beds — were occupied by people with or suspected of having COVID-19.

Four new deaths from COVID-19 were reported this week. Among the fatalities are three men and one woman aged 80 or older.

The new deaths bring the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Clark County to 811. Deaths are typically added to the county total 10 to 12 days after they occur.

Public Health reported 1,157 new cases this week, of which 881 were confirmed by molecular testing for 77,618 to date and 276 by antigen testing for 15,759. The true number of new cases is likely higher due to unreported home testing, according to Clark County public health officials.

If you test positive for COVID-19 with a home test, you can call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127 to report your positive result.

Clark County, along with every county in Washington, remains low-risk, 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 the current number of cases, hospitalizations and overall hospital occupancy exposed except for King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, Clallam, Jefferson and Walla Walla who are at medium risk.

Recommendations for residents of low-risk counties include staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if you have symptoms. Masks are not required in low-risk countries, although masks and social distancing are still recommended for those at high risk of serious illness. Additionally, people exposed to COVID-19 or showing symptoms must continue to follow quarantine guidelines.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Washington’s public health leaders said they would not issue mandates but would “strongly recommend” wearing masks in crowded or confined indoor locations. Indoor masks are still required in hospitals and healthcare facilities, long-term care facilities and correctional facilities.

As parts of the state transition from low-risk to intermediate-risk, health officials say it’s likely a matter of time before more areas pick up the pace. Masks are still not compulsory in medium-risk countries. However, masks are recommended in all indoor public spaces in high-risk areas.

“This is a time for you to wear a well-fitting, appropriate mask to protect yourself and those around you,” Health Minister Umair Shah said. “We really have an opportunity to forestall and prevent what we’re seeing across the country.”

According to Clark County Public Health, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters offer the best protection against COVID-19.

Children ages 5-11 are now eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot in Washington and can receive a booster shot of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine 5 months after completing their first vaccination course.

In Clark County, only about 25 percent of children ages 5 to 11 have completed their basic immunization course. According to Public Health, immunocompromised children should receive their booster shots at least 3 months after their primary series.

The Washington State Department of Health and Human Services reported that as of May 23, 66 percent of Clark County residents age 5 and older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

How to find a vaccination center near you:

Washington residents can now access eight free at-home COVID-19 tests through the federal government’s test kit program. To place an order, go to Orders require a name and address, and tests are delivered to your door for free by the US Postal Service. If you need help ordering, call 800-232-0233.

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