Covid update


February 9, 2023

One case of covid-19 was reported in the last week, according to the Washington Department of Health, bringing the cumulative total to 636 in Wahkiakum County. The number of hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the virus stayed the same, at 49 and 10 respectively.

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.

“Covid rates are holding steady or decreasing,” Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff said.

When asked how scientists could determine covid rates when the easy availability of home tests makes reporting unnecessary, Bischoff said there was still plenty of data.

“When the numbers get large like at the state level or even better the national level, data and percentages become our friend and tell a very robust story,” he said. “For a county the size of Wahkiakum, data is very hard to deal with and fairly unreliable.”

“Even though people are self-testing and not reporting, and less people are even doing any testing, the large amount of data being generated at the national level means that we can largely look at the positivity rate and number of positive tests and make fairly reliable generalized assumptions at the national and state levels,” Bischoff added. “Then we can compare that to the hospitalization and fatality rates, remembering that those two metrics lag behind the positivity rate and confirmed case count. By looking at the data this way, we effectively control for the test reporting issues. The hospitalization and fatality reports can be assumed at this level to be pretty accurate. Healthcare is required to report this information accurately and in a timely fashion.”

“Again the larger the amount of data, the more accurate our conclusions are even if that data is imperfect,” he said. “The big issue is that the gaps in home testing or not testing in data collection can be assumed to be relatively consistent.”

WA DOH is reporting that 70.5 percent of the population in the state has received the primary series of the vaccination, while only 53.1 percent of the population in Wahkiakum County has done so, and while 30.2 percent of people eligible to receive the bivalent booster in the state have opted to do so, the number is a little higher in Wahkiakum at 32.7 percent.

The primary series of the Pfizer vaccine and the new Pfizer bivalent booster, including a version for juveniles, are available at the vaccine clinic offered by Wahkiakum Health and Human Services.

The clinic is held 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 health department’s vaccine clinics are held at their Elochoman Valley Campus, at 42 Elochoman Valley Road.

According to Bischoff, the waiting room/check-in area for the clinic is in the first building that people see when they turn into the south driveway, called Building 1. Parking is to the right. The entrance is at the northeast corner of the building. People will be greeted and given the forms they need to fill out for their visit.

The primary series of the Moderna vaccine and the new Moderna bivalent booster are now available at the Cathlamet Pharmacy by appointment, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 2-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 360-795-3691 for more information or to make an appointment.

Flu shots are available at the pharmacy by appointment. The flu shot and the booster can be given at the same time. WHHS is offering both the high dose and regular adult flu shots and the juvenile flu shots during their clinics.


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