County case count hits 97: doses arrive for 2nd shots
February 25, 2021
As of Wednesday, the number of covid-19 cases in Wahkiakum County was up to 97, with 16 cases considered active. According to the Washington Department of Health, 1,445 tests had been conducted so far.
Pacific County's total was up to 736, with seven cases considered active. Nine people have died because of covid-19.
There have been 4,156 cases of covid-19 in Cowlitz County with 103 considered active. They are attributing 49 deaths to the virus.
Across the river, there have been 1,232 cases in Columbia County, with 21 deaths, and in Clatsop County there have been 770 cases, with six deaths related to covid-19.
Of the 96 cases reported, 78 have been in the Cathlamet zip code. There have been nine in the Skamokawa zip code, four in the Rosburg zip code, three in the Naselle zip code, and two in the Grays River zip code.
Most of the cases fell into the 40-59 age group, with a total of 35. There were 20 in the 20-39 age group, 19 in the 0-19 age group, 17 in the 60-79 age group, and five in people 80 and over. By gender, 53 males have tested positive, and 43 females tested positive.
Fifth grade class at J.A. Wendt Elementary
Because of privacy laws, details are limited, but at least one case of covid-19 has fifth grade students in the Wahkiakum School District at home doing distance education. That began last week and will continue to do so the rest of this week, according to Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff.
“There was some passing at the school, but very limited,” he said. “We have it under control. That’s why we have them isolated in pods, to keep it under control.
"We’re monitoring it very closely, to make sure there is no additional spread outside of that at the school. We feel pretty confident that we’re good. We knew things like this were going to happen. We hoped there would be no cases, but in the event we had cases, we moved the way we hoped we would. That’s my long winded way of saying, there’s something, but it’s not a lot.”
Bischoff isn’t sure when Wahkiakum County will begin receiving first doses of the covid-19 vaccine
again and is encouraging residents to investigate other avenues if they want one.
“I don’t know when we are going to get first doses again,” Bischoff said. “We have given 829 first doses. We have about 100 people who need second doses this week. We did finally get some good news, and our shipment of second doses from last week is supposed to arrive today. We borrowed 80 doses from PeaceHealth last week. That was the second time they bailed us out. So the shipment we are getting today, we will be able to give their 80 doses back, plus we will have enough to finish off our seconds. Next week we have less than 10 people who need their second dose and then that’s it, we will have caught up with our second doses.”
“The problem is we don’t have any first doses,” he reiterated. “This is three or four weeks in a row that we’ve ordered first doses, and the first doses have been denied. We put in an order this weekend for more first doses, but we won’t know until later this week if we are going to get any or not.”
Bischoff said he was joining a small group of public health officials that would be working with the Department of Health to address transparency and develop a plan to ship out doses.
“I’m going to be on that group to speak to us getting more vaccines,” Bischoff said.
In the meantime, he suggests contacting to other sources.
“We know some folks who are PeaceHealth users have gotten their vaccine through St. John Hospital,” he said. “People should reach out to their primary care provider and ask them if they have a way to get vaccinated.”
He also included the following resources:
2. To reach the state's COVID-19 Assistance Hotline: Dial 1-800-525-0127, then press #. If you can't reach the hotline via the regular number, the state says to call their alternate number, 888-856-5816 (a Spanish option is available). The call center is staffed Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
3. Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities of Southwest Washington (360)501-8399.
Cowlitz County agreed to do mobile pods and is setting up vaccination centers after receiving first doses from the federal government, which is shipping the doses directly to pharmacies.
“The state system is how Wahkiakum gets all of our vaccinations, and we are not qualified to get the federal direct shipment,” Bischoff said. “I don’t think they are working with small pharmacies like ours, which is very limiting. Our only source is through the Department of Health.”
“I don’t want people to wait for us. I’m going to do everything I can to get first doses here, but I can’t promise that is going to happen,” Bischoff added. “If you want a vaccine, you are going to have to hunt and scratch for it, but I think three or four months it will be the reverse, where I will be begging people to come get the vaccine. Right now they are hard to find.”