County case count hits 87 on Wednesday; vaccination effort doing well, but shortage slows effort
February 18, 2021
On Wednesday four more people in Wahkiakum County tested positive for covid-19, bringing the total to 87.
According to the Washington Department of Health, 1,354 people have been tested, three people have been hospitalized, and 1,348 doses of the vaccine have been administered.
In Cowlitz County, 4,072 people have tested positive for covid-19, with 121 cases considered active. They are attributing 47 deaths to covid-19. Pacific County was reporting 729 cases with 14 of those considered active. Nine people have died. Across the river, Columbia County has had 1,178 cases and 21 deaths and Clatsop County has had 761 cases and six deaths.
As of Friday, Wahkiakum Health and Human Services had administered the vaccine to over 18 percent of the county’s population, having given 829 first doses, and 540 second doses.
"We are well ahead of every county around us,” WHHS Director Chris Bischoff said.
However, the county has not received a shipment of first doses for the last two weeks, and WHHS has learned that they will not be getting any new doses this week either. A shipment of second doses has been confirmed, and the health department will continue to provide the necessary second shots scheduled this week as well as a portion of next week’s second doses.
“The state has been told their allocation will increase significantly in the next few weeks, so hopefully that will get more doses to us,” Bischoff said.
Any first doses that the county receives will go to people on the 65 and older list, which is the current priority for WHHS.
In the meantime, the health department has set up a limited call center for this week, February 16-19, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., to create a new list of Wahkiakum County residents who are either a) 18 and over, with underlying conditions or b) 50 and over, and living in a multi-generational household. The number to get on the list is 360-795-1076.
WHHS is taking names to create a wait list, not scheduling appointments at this time.
Underlying conditions are listed on the CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html.
Anyone with questions about their underlying condition is advised to call their primary care provider to find out if they qualify. The health department does not have adequate staffing to answer those questions, Bischoff said.
“The new list will take us months to complete,” Bischoff said. “We understand that people are anxious to get the vaccine. Our staff are doing everything we can to get as many doses locally as we can, as fast as we can. We do not keep first doses in reserve. As soon as we receive confirmation that they are shipped, we begin scheduling from the list. Often we are giving out doses the day or day after they arrive.”
“I wish that we could give people an idea of how soon we will be able to get them vaccinated,” Bischoff continued. “Unfortunately, we simply aren't able to do that. The state is not telling local health departments how they are allotting the vaccine; this is at least as frustrating for us as it is for the public. Manufacturing has not ramped up as fast as we were told it would. There is reason to believe that more doses will be coming in soon, manufacturing is ramping up and a new vaccine should get approval in the next few weeks.”
Wahkiakum County, along with the rest of the state, has moved to Phase 2, which allows for some indoor dining, and means that athletes representing Wahkiakum School District will be able to compete against other schools in not only cross country, but now in football and volleyball as well.
In brief, Phase 2 means that you can have a maximum of five people from outside your household, or a limit of two households, at indoor social and at-home gatherings. A maximum of 15 people from outside your household or a limit of two households is allowed at outdoor social and at-home gatherings.
Nothing has changed as far as worship services, retail services, professional services, or personal services. The maximum is still 25 percent of indoor capacity. Retail stores are asked to continue to encourage curbside pick up, and those providing professional services are encouraged to work remotely.
Eating and drinking establishments may have indoor dining up to 25 percent capacity. Alcohol service and delivery must end at 11 p.m. Outdoor and open air dining is okay, with a maximum of six people at a table, and a limit of two households per table.
Weddings and funerals must follow appropriate venue requirements, and if food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply. Dancing is prohibited.
Low and moderate risk indoor K-12 sport competitions are permitted, with a maximum 25 percent capacity. High risk indoor sports are permitted for practice and training. Fitness, training, etc., are okay, with the maximum 25 percent capacity allowed.
Low, moderate, and high risk sport competition for K-12 is allowed outdoors, with a maximum of 200 people allowed, including spectators.
For more information, https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/HealthyWashingtonPhasedChart.pdf