Yakima Health District Ends Weekly COVID Updates; RSV and influenza a nationwide concern | Local

As COVID-19 cases remain low in the Yakima Valley and across the state, the Yakima Health District is reducing COVID statistics and reports.

The Health District has stopped providing weekly COVID data updates. Weekly data updates and monthly trend reports will be switched to quarterly reports next year.

This change comes after months of declining weekly COVID cases, hospitalizations and infection rates. The number of COVID-19 cases statewide has generally been falling, although there was a small spike in the third week of November, according to the Washington State Department of Health’s data dashboard.

At the state level, Washington’s COVID-19 response website has been shut down. Information from the website has been moved to the DOH’s COVID-19 landing page. There, Washington residents can continue to access COVID best practices, testing, and immunization information.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID community level for Yakima County is low.

RSV and flu a problem

While COVID appears to be less of an issue, rising RSV and flu cases in Yakima County and the state are keeping many hospitals staying near, at, or above capacity.

State health officials Thursday reported over 1,200 new flu cases from Nov. 13-19, more than doubling the number of cases in previous weeks, the Associated Press reported. According to health officials, seven people in the state have died from the flu so far this season, including one child.

Stephanie Badillo-Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the Yakima Health District, said residents should consider returning to wearing masks and avoiding large groups during the winter season. People who are feeling sick should stay home, she added.

Badillo-Sanchez said the health district is working with county schools to organize flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinics like the one they hosted in mid-October.

Meanwhile, the health district has updated its website with the latest information on flu shot availability in the county.

vaccination clinics

The health district planned two COVID-19 vaccination clinics in December.

• The first will be held on Wednesday, December 14 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Yakima Valley Museum at 2105 Tieton Drive in Yakima.

• The second will be on Friday, December 16 between 1pm and 6pm at Radio KDNA at 121 Sunnyside Ave. held in Granger.

The Department of Health recommends visiting www.YakimaVaccines.org or www.YakimaVacunas.org for vaccine locations and availability.

Testing

For those who think they may have COVID-19, the Yakima Community Testing Site is Tuesday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1211 N. 16th Ave. open in Yakima. The location, which is near the movie theater on 16th Avenue off US Highway 12, is offering free COVID-19 testing to anyone 3 months or older.

Washington State offers free rapid tests on its website sayyescovidhomestest.org.

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