7 new cases this week; community spread continues
January 27, 2022
There were seven new cases of covid-19, this week, with three reported last Thursday and four more on Tuesday, bringing the cumulative total to 294. Of those, 24 are considered potentially active.
The risk of contracting covid-19 in Washington is very high, according to the press release from Wahkiakum Health and Human Services, and they confirm that there is “active community spread” in the county.
WHHS says that vaccines are the best possible protection from covid-19, and that boosters are recommended for anyone age 12 and older whose last vaccination was at least five months ago. Vaccines are available to anyone age five and older at the health center, the Cathlamet Pharmacy, and to patients at the Cathlamet Clinic.
The health center continues to urge people to practice social distancing, stay at home, wear a mask to socialize, and limit activities to household members only.
County sets record for cases in one month
“Wahkiakum has officially had its largest number of cases in one month this month,” WHHS Director Chris Bischoff said. “We have had 30 so far this month; our previous high was in September of last year with 29. Some states are showing a decrease in daily cases, a few are still accelerating, and some are plateauing.
"Washington appears to still be accelerating in cases. Wahkiakum's neighboring counties are still increasing as well. It looked like before the holiday that we were starting to plateau or head down, but that has not been the case.”
Cases impact WHHS vaccine clinics
“We have had to have a couple of half clinic days this week as the current wave of covid has touched our department and left us with limited options to administer the vaccine,” Bischoff said.
“Both the state and feds are working on adjusting their disease prevention strategies around covid-19 for a more long-term outlook. We have the vaccines and the technology to rapidly develop those for future covid-19 variants.
"The vaccines are extremely effective in reducing the worst symptoms of covid-19. We have much better proven treatment options, both approved and pending approval. It is now time to begin to change strategy for the long term. Neither the State or the Feds have tipped their hands or shared information on what their intentions are in formulating new strategies, but they are both working on that right now.”
Bischoff shared some resources.
“There is a call by several national public health groups to significantly change the public health disease investigation strategy,” he said. “These are not decision making entities and are just making recommendations.”
He also shared this blog post: https://www.naccho.org/blog/articles/joint-statement-public-health-agencies-transitioning-away-from-universal-case-investigation-and-contact-tracing-for-individual-cases-of-covid-19.
"The main recommendation is to discontinue investigating every confirmed case of covid-19,” he said. “They outline multiple items to help curb the disease without doing full case investigations on every new case:
• Continuing to emphasize vaccination and boosters,
• Continuing to educate on mask wearing,
• Targeting the most vulnerable populations for increased efforts,
• Increasing the availability of testing,
• Conducting full outbreak investigations only in certain situations:
--Outbreaks in high-risk settings like long-term care and hospitals,
--Outbreaks among those with severe illness or out of the normal symptoms, and
--Increasing indoor air quality standards.