COVID-19 cases rising sharply, Grant County now labeled as a “Very High Risk” county
- Moses Lake, WA
While many of us would like to see the end of the SARS-CoV-2 virus better know as the COVID-19 virus, however there’s a reality we need to face and it’s that the virus is still here. While the United States is the lead nation when it comes to administering the COVID-19 vaccine we are still the lead in COVID-19 cases and fears of a fourth wave here in Washington are prominent.
According to Governor Inslee’s Healthy Washington Reopening Plan counties will be individually evaluated every three weeks, in addition to being individually evaluated, large and small counties (large counties consist of a population of more than 50,000) will have different sets of criteria. Grant County is considered a large county. In order to move down one phase a county must fail both metrics (case counts and hospitalizations). Under the previous plan, a county would of only needed to fail one metric to move back one phase. On April 12th Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health announced the rollback of three counties one in Eastern Washington (Whitman County) and two in Western Washington (Pierce, and Cowlitz Counties).
How are cases and hospitalizations asset in WA?
Washington State assesses COVID-19 cases over 14 days by identifying the number of cases with a specimen collection date in a 14-day period. A COVID-19 hospitalization is defined as a Washington resident within state borders with confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnosis who is identified as having been hospitalized through either case investigation OR linkage with Rapid Health Information Network (RHINO) records. New COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 population per seven days is calculated by dividing the number of hospitalizations with a hospital admission date in a seven-day period by the county population and multiplying by 100,000. The statewide ICU bed occupancy is defined as the percent of staffed adult ICU beds in acute care hospitals in Washington that are occupied. ICU occupancy includes all patients in the ICU, not only patients with COVID-19. The ICU bed occupancy is calculated by summing the occupancy over the seven-day period and dividing this by the sum of the seven-day capacity. The result is multiplied by 100. The data for this metric come from WA HEALTH. The most recent six days of data are considered incomplete as it takes up to six days for data collection, quality checks and reporting.
Variants in the county
On April 12th the Grant County Health District announced the first SARS-CoV-2 cases in the county the California variant and the B.1.1.7. variant also known as the U.K. Variant. Today most cases of the COVID-19 virus in Washington State are now caused by COVID-19 variants.
“COVID-19 is not over; this pandemic is not over. We urge everyone to follow preventative measures and take precautions when gathering outside of your home,” said Theresa Adkinson, Grant County Health District Administrator.
Here in Grant County the average case numbers for the month of March and April are lower than the start of the year and have been hovering near 20, however have been noticing a climb to just above 20 cases as a 7-day average. Cases across the Moses Lake area have been accelerating to the point where the region is in danger of rolling back to Phase 2 rising from a borderline safe Phase 3 case zone of 179 cases per 100k on April 19th shooting up to 226 cases per 100k just two days later on April 21st, continuing to climb at a steep rate to 272 cases per 100K on April 22nd.
Case counts in Grant County have increased 31% in just 14-days, with positive testings at 4% rising the 14-day positive case count change to 93%.
“Overall, COVID-19 case rates and community spread in Grant County continue to be relatively high. The concern about COVID variants is a good reason to continue infection prevention steps so that our county can stay in the current phase 3 of reopening. Increasing rates of disease could push us back a phase or worse. Even after a person is vaccinated for COVID-19, individuals should continue wearing a mask in public, using good ventilation at home, school or a workplace, practice regular handwashing and maintain physical distance from others outside of their household. We may have also forgotten that it is still important to get tested and stay home if we feel ill, so please get tested if and isolate if experiencing COVID symptoms,” said Dr. Brzezny Grant County’s Health Officer.
Yes, the United States has been the global leader in administering COVID-19 vaccines. On Saturday April 24th Governor Inslee unpaused Johnson & Johnson’s 1-dose vaccine after the CDC conducted it safe and effective. Here in Washington State 43.4% of the state’s population have received their first shot at 3,305,388 residents and 29.5% of the population is fully vaccinated at 2,245,053 residents. In Grant County are numbers are much lower at only 24% of the counties population being fully vaccinated this counts for 65% of those 65+ being fully vaccinated and only 33% of those 18+ being fully vaccinated. The state has been working around the clock to block and take down misleading information regarding the vaccine and have provided a link with answers to frequent questions about the vaccine. https://medium.com/wadepthealth/covid-19-vaccines-just-the-facts-part-2-56d895d13904
ARTICLE BY: Brandon Sanchez MLWA 7 News