No new cases; recommendations for 2nd boosters
April 14, 2022
There have been no new cases of covid-19 officially reported in the last week, and the cumulative number of cases in Wahkiakum County stands at 309, with zero active cases known.
The Washington Department of Health is reporting 30 hospitalizations and six deaths attributed to covid-19 in the county.
According to Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff, the dominant strain of covid-19 in the United States and other parts of the world is the BA.2 version of omicron.
"Case rates are still medium to low across most of the country," he said. "The rise in availability of at-home test kits means that those case rate numbers need to be viewed as being on the low side of actual cases.
"We would strongly encourage people to get and have test kits available at home. If they test positive they should contact their physician and quarantine themselves."
As for vaccination rates, county numbers continue to fall well below the state's. While the state is reporting that 74 percent of the population age five and older are fully vaccinated, only 51.3 percent of the population of Wahkiakum County is fully vaccinated.
A second booster is available and recommended for some people, Bischoff said. This includes anyone 50 and older, anyone who had the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for the first dose and first booster, and anyone 12 and older who is immunocompromised. Bischoff said that anyone who falls into the last category should consult with their doctor.
"It is expected that by the fall it will be recommended for everyone," Bischoff said of the booster.
Making decisions about masking
Bischoff said there has been a lot of questions about masks. Should we still be wearing them? If not, when do we need to put them back on?
"Monitoring their health and the level of cases in the areas they plan to visit can help inform people to make their own decisions on whether they should be masking or not," he said. "The Washington Department of Health has a color map on their dashboard page for case rates for all of the counties in the state."
The color map shows danger levels in each county, based on the seven day case rate per 100,000, with colors corresponding to rates. Blue is the lowest risk, and red is the highest, with yellow and orange showing the increasing levels in the middle. Wahkiakum is currently in the yellow category.
"I would ask for people to please be kind to others around masking," Bischoff added, "with the mandate removed people are making personal choices about their health and the health of those they care about."
Here are some masking considerations:
• For those that are most susceptible, wearing a mask is still a great idea. Consulting with their doctor is very important.
• In some places masks are still required such as health care centers, long-term care facilities, etc.
• Some people will also choose to keep wearing masks for their own peace of mind.
• Businesses may choose to require masking and or vaccination.