No new cases this week; cases surging statewide
December 30, 2021
There were no new cases of covid-19 reported in Wahkiakum County this week. The cumulative number of cases remains at 264, with one case considered potentially active.
So far, there have been 18 reported hospitalizations, and five deaths attributed to covid-19 in the county.
There were 15 patients being treated for covid-19 at St. John Hospital on Tuesday.
“The Centers for Disease Control changed their quarantine guidance again,” Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff wrote in an email on Tuesday. “According to their data, covid-19 positive people tend to expose others in the two days before becoming symptomatic and the three days after symptom onset.
"So the CDC is recommending five days of isolation for positive individuals who are not symptomatic, but they need to strictly mask for the next five days. Those who are symptomatic still need to isolate. This will help people get back to work faster and yet still provide some protection for spread.
Anyone who is unvaccinated or at least six months removed from their vaccination (two months for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine) and hasn’t had a booster should quarantine for five days filled by five days of strict masking.
“Washington State still has a mask mandate in effect,” Bischoff said. “Wearing a mask is a form of courtesy for your neighbors and community who are trying to protect themselves from covid-19.”
Anyone who is up to date on their vaccination doesn’t have to quarantine, but should still strictly mask up for 10 days.
“Cases are beginning to surge across the United States,” Bischoff said. “Washington State reported its single largest day of new cases ever on December 24. It’s likely that the Omicron variant is going to be the largest majority of those cases. Hospitals are trying to prepare for the inevitable surge in hospitalizations.
"The issue is that the hospitals are struggling with staffing. The pandemic has been very hard on professionals in the healthcare field, another wave of being overwhelmed is going to strain our system even further. We really need everyone vaccinated and to get a booster if they are eligible.”
There have been 4,572 doses of the vaccine given to people in Wahkiakum County.
The percentage of the population of Wahkiakum County age 12 and up that has been fully vaccinated is at 52.7 percent while 75.6 percent of the same population in Washington State is considered fully vaccinated.
Showing no change from last week, by age, 27.3 percent of 12-17 year olds in the county are fully vaccinated, 43.9 percent of 18-34 year olds are fully vaccinated, 54.8 percent of 35-49 year olds are fully vaccinated, 52 percent of 50-64 year olds are fully vaccinated, and 59.6 percent of people age 65 and older are fully vaccinated.
More covid-19 updates
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden on Monday pledged the full support of the federal government to states facing surges in COVID-19 cases from the more-transmissible omicron variant and a run on at-home tests.
Joining a regular meeting between his coronavirus response team and the National Governors Association, Biden said, "My message is: if you need something, say something, and we are going to have your back any way we can."
Biden acknowledged long lines and chaotic scenes as Americans sought out testing amid the case surge and as they looked to safely gather with family and friends over the holiday.
He referenced his administration's plan to make 500 million rapid tests available to Americans beginning next month through an as-yet-to-be-developed website.
A White House official said the new tests would come from new manufacturing capacity and wouldn't interfere with existing supply chains.
Vaccination mandate recommended for air travel
WASHINGTON -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said Monday that the U.S. should "seriously" consider a vaccination mandate for domestic travel.
Speaking to MSNBC, Fauci, who serves as President Joe Biden's chief science adviser on the COVID-19 response, said "When you make vaccination a requirement, that's another incentive to get more people vaccinated."
The U.S. currently mandates that most foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but has not instituted one for domestic travel.
The administration has at times considered a domestic vaccination requirement, or one requiring either vaccination or proof of negative test, but two officials said Biden's science advisers have yet to formally make the recommendation to the president. The officials noted they have not been eager to mandate vaccination for domestic air travel because they expected it to immediately face legal challenges, mitigating its potential effectiveness as a tool to drive up vaccinations.
Biden's employer vaccination requirements have been mired in legal wrangling, with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments in early January in cases seeking to overturn them.
Monday's coronavirus pandemic updates:
-- Omicron spreads global gloom over New Year's celebrations.
-- Delta flight to Shanghai turned back because of COVID rules.
-- Variant disrupts holiday travel but not shopping.
-- France sees over 100,000 daily infections for the first time.
Follow AP's pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.