Covid-19 update

Covid cases increase; monkeypox closing in


The first case of monkeypox was confirmed in Cowlitz County on Tuesday. There have been 101 cases of orthopoxvirus, all believed to be monkeypox, confirmed in Washington state, with the majority of the cases found in King County. There has also been one case confirmed in Lewis County and one case confirmed in Clark County.

“At this point, monkeypox is considered to be an outbreak by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization,” Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff said. “It is flaring in multiple countries."

Monkeypox is spread through very close contact with infected individuals, whether it is kissing, snuggling, hugging, wrestling, etc., but there is also the possibility of spread through close contact with bodily fluids left behind on objects like bedding.

Bischoff advises people to exercise caution in intimate encounters to minimize risk.

“Having close physical contact with someone with sores is especially risky right now,” he said.

To be clear, while monkeypox can be transmitted through sexual contact, but can also be transmitted through contact that is not of a sexual nature.

"If you or someone you know has recently developed monkeypox like symptoms and have had close physical contact with other people, please contact your medical provider immediately,” Bischoff said.

Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, a rash that can appear anywhere on the body, and flu-like symptoms. In the current outbreak, many cases have presented with lesions on the genitals or in the anal area.

The time between exposure and developing symptoms is typically between 5 and 24 days after exposure.

“The federal government has released a significant amount of the smallpox vaccine from the strategic national stockpile to help slow/stop the spread of monkeypox,” Bischoff said. “State officials are working to get those doses allocated to Washington into the best places to fight the spread.”

The number of covid-19 cases in Wahkiakum County has risen by three to 575 in the last week, according to the Washington Department of Health, and according to Bischoff, that translates to approximately 10 active cases.

Disclaimer: With the easy accessibility of at home tests, the actual number of active covid-19 cases and actual cumulative numbers in the county, are hard to know.

There has been one more death in the county attributed to covid-19, according to WA DOH, and the number of hospitalizations stands at 37.

“Covid-19 cases are still very high throughout much of the state,” Bischoff said. “Many hospitals are reporting nearing capacity again. It would be good for people to exercise some extra caution right now.”

“The omicron subvarient BA.5 is very easy to spread and likely the driving force behind the current surge in cases,” he added.

The percentage of people considered fully vaccinated in the state of Washington, age five and up, stands at 74.8, while only 51.1 percent of the population of Wahkiakum County is considered fully vaccinated.

The Pfizer vaccine, including a second booster, is available for anyone six months and older at the WHHS vaccine clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. Call 360-849-4041 for more information.

The Moderna vaccine, including a second booster, is available at the Cathlamet Pharmacy. Call 360-795-3691.


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