County adds new case to reach 196, hospitalizations rising
September 9, 2021
On Wednesday, another Wahkiakum County resident tested positive for covid-19, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 196, with 13 considered to be potentially active.
“New cases are starting to level off, which is great, but hospitalizations tend to continue increasing a few weeks after cases,” Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischof said. “With that knowledge, we know we haven’t seen the worst case yet for hospitals.”
According to the Washington Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday, the number of hospitalizations of Wahkiakum residents went up by two over the weekend, bringing the total to 13. The deaths of five Wahkiakum residents have been attributed to covid-19.
The number of vaccine doses administered in Wahkiakum rose to 3,645. State DOH is reporting that 67 percent of Washington state residents age 12 and over have been fully vaccinated. Wahkiakum remains far behind the average, at 49.6 percent for the same category, this week.
According to data on Tuesday, there has been a negligible increase in the percentage of vaccinations in the county. Including the total population, 48.4 percent has initiated the vaccine, while 44.7 percent is fully vaccinated. Of the population age 16 and over, 55.1 percent has initiated vaccination while 50.9 percent is fully vaccinated. Of the population age 12 and over, 53.7 percent have initiated vaccination.
By age, the biggest increase in vaccinations was in the 18-34 demographic. Last week, 37.3 percent of that population had initiated vaccinations. This week, the number grew to 41.6 percent. Fully vaccinated in that group grew from 32.7 percent to 34.5 percent.
The percentage of youths age 12-17 to be fully vaccinated grew from 22.3 percent to 23.9 percent. For people between the ages of 35-49, it grew from 45.6 percent to 46.7 percent. For those in the 50-64 group, the percentage rose from 46.5 to 47.4 percent, and it actually went down for people 65 and over.
Booster shots have come up for debate again recently.
“There is not a great deal of agreement on whether they are needed yet,” Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff said. “This is because of the data from a very few studies is not very strong for non-immunocompromised individuals. The main study being cited is out of Israel and most of the data is around immunocompromised individuals, which makes it hard to apply to others.”
The third dose for immunocompromised individuals is still recommended, Bischoff said.
A new variant
While the world contends with the delta variant, other new variants are starting to show up.
“The new variant, Greek letter mu, is just getting on the public's radar,” Bischoff said.”Right now it’s not a big issue because delta is so dominant. It is concerning because it appears to lower the efficacy of the vaccines and treatments. So the Centers for Disease Control and public health are monitoring it very closely. There are a couple other variants with similar issues that we’re watching closely.”
Bischoff provided a link for more information on variants: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant-info.html
“Our hospital system is still in serious trouble across the region,” Bischoff said. “Covid patients are overwhelming the capacities of hospitals in Washington and Oregon.”
The Daily News of Longview on Tuesday reported that the Cowlitz County morgue is full and the coroner has requested a refrigerated trailer to house the deceased.