Clark County’s reported COVID-19 activity rate has increased this week as disease activity continues to escalate.
The COVID-19 activity rate, which measures new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days, rose from 165.7 last week to 217.5 on Thursday, according to Clark County Public Health data.
New hospitalizations this week fell from 7.4 to 7.8 per 100,000 population over seven days, according to Public Health.
As of Tuesday, 94.7% of Clark County hospital beds and 84.6% of intensive care beds were occupied. Hospitals reported that 28 beds – representing 15% of hospital beds and 31.5% of intensive care beds – were occupied by people with or suspected of having COVID-19.
Four new deaths from COVID-19 have been reported this week. The deaths include three men and one woman aged 80 or over.
The new deaths bring the total number of people who have died of COVID-19 in Clark County to 811. Deaths are added to the county total usually 10 to 12 days after they occur.
Public health reported 1,157 new cases this week, including 881 confirmed by molecular testing, up from 77,618 so far, and 276 using antigen testing, up from 15,759. The actual number of new cases is likely more high 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.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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 remains at low risk with all Washington counties except King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, Clallam, Jefferson, and Walla Walla, which are medium risk.
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, although masks and social distancing are still recommended for those at high risk for severe illness. In addition, people exposed to COVID-19 or showing symptoms should always follow quarantine guidelines.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Washington public health officials said they were not issuing mandates but “strongly recommend” that masks be worn indoors in crowded or confined places. Indoor masks are still needed in hospitals and health care facilities, long-term care facilities, and correctional facilities.
As parts of the state move from low risk to medium risk, health officials said it’s likely only a matter of time before other areas also see the pace of the cases increase. Masks are still not mandatory in medium-risk counties. However, masks are recommended in all indoor public places in high-risk counties.
“Now is the time for you to wear an appropriate mask that fits well so that you can protect yourself and those around you,” said Health Secretary Umair Shah. “We really have an opportunity to get ahead and prevent what we’re seeing across the country.”
COVID-19 vaccines and boosters offer the best protection against COVID-19, according to Clark County Public Health.
Children 5-11 years old are now eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose in Washington and can receive a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 5 months after completing their primary vaccine series.
In Clark County, only about 25% of children ages 5 to 11 have completed their primary vaccine series. Immunocompromised children should receive their booster at least 3 months after their first set, according to Public Health.
The Washington State Department of Health reported that as of May 23, 66% of Clark County residents age 5 or older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Here’s how you can 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 www.COVIDtests.gov. Orders require a name and address, and tests will be delivered to your door for free by the US Postal Service. If you need help placing an order, call 800-232-0233.