Clark County seeing increasing rates of COVID-19 infection


The numbers went up even before the Labor Day weekend, raising concerns among public health officials

CLARK COUNTY — Clark County added 182 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past week, bringing the overall total to 3,075 since the outbreak began. The rate of new cases adds up to an average of 26 per day. If that continues, it would risk putting the county back into the high risk range for school reopenings.

Updated testing results from Clark County Public Health show positive rates have increased as total testing decreased in recent weeks. Image courtesy Clark County Public Health
Updated testing results from Clark County Public Health show positive rates have increased as total testing decreased in recent weeks. Image courtesy Clark County Public Health

After a significant delay caused by a switch to a new reporting system at the state level, Clark County Public Health today released updated testing numbers that show the rate of positive tests has increased dramatically in recent weeks, even as the total number of tests declines.

During the week ending Aug. 22, a total of 5,252 tests were conducted, with 2.89 percent returning a positive result for the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19. 

The following week, 4,572 tests were conducted, with 3.41 percent returning positive.

In the week ending Sept. 5, just ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend, 4,022 tests were done, with 5.12 percent coming back positive, a 50 percent increase from two weeks earlier.

While overall testing has gone down, positive percentage rates have gone up in Clark County. Image courtesy Clark County Public Health
While overall testing has gone down, positive percentage rates have gone up in Clark County. Image courtesy Clark County Public Health

Data for the two weeks following Labor Day weekend are not yet available. The rate of new cases has risen from just over 60 per 100,000 residents over a two-week period in early September to just under 70 per 100,000 people. 

That keeps Clark County in the moderate risk category for school reopenings, with high risk being anything over 75 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. In order to stay under that number, the county would need to maintain an average of fewer than 27 new cases per day.

Since last Friday, there have been 182 new cases in the county, for an average of 26 per day.

Clark County Public Health said it’s a little too early yet to know if gatherings over the Labor Day weekend may be increasing the prevalence of the virus in the area. The county has also not noted any significant outbreaks tied to a Sept. 4 religious gathering at the Vancouver Waterfront Park.

“It usually takes a few weeks to see the impacts, given the incubation period (up to 14 days) and the amount of time it takes for folks to seek testing and get results,” wrote Marissa Armstrong, a senior communications specialist with CCPH in an email to Clark County Today. “The poor air quality may also complicate things if people hunkered down and delayed seeking testing.”

As of Friday there were 24 confirmed cases in Clark County hospitals, with 13 other people hospitalized with a suspected COVID-19 infection. That represents 5.9 percent of available hospital beds. That number has risen in the past two weeks, but remains below the 10 percent threshold set by the state.

Bridge Chiropractic update

The Public Health department has been busy working to contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 by an employee who tested positive at Bridge Chiropractic Clinic, located at 13800 NE 20th Ave in Salmon Creek. The business operates under the umbrella of ChiroOne Wellness Centers of Illinois.

Bridge Chiropractic in Salmon Creek is closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, potentially exposing nearly 300 clients. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Bridge Chiropractic in Salmon Creek is closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, potentially exposing nearly 300 clients. Photo by Jacob Granneman

Clark County Public Health confirmed on Wednesday that an employee of the business had tested positive earlier this week, after working closely with clients on Sept. 8-11. Nearly 300 customers may have been exposed.

As of today, Armstrong said two other employees at the clinic are considered probable cases. A rapid results antigen test came back positive, but the county won’t consider them confirmed cases until after a PCR test, which looks for the virus RNA, also comes back positive.

Armstrong says 237 of the customers considered close contacts have been successfully notified. Twenty-eight others either declined to speak with case investigators, or didn’t respond to four separate phone calls and a text message. One other person denied having been to the facility, and 26 more are still in the process of being contacted.

Investigations ongoing

The Washington Department of Health confirmed today that they received a complaint in June, and another in July, regarding staff at Bridge Chiropractic not using masks or other protective equipment, or enforcing social distancing.

Following the second complaint, DOH says they provided “technical assistance” to the clinic, advising them of the state requirements and potential consequences.

An additional complaint was received later that same month, prompting DOH to begin an investigation through the state Chiropractic Commission on July 30. Despite that, another complaint was received in August, and authorized for investigation on Aug. 27.

The Commission determined this week to expand their investigation following more allegations from clients that emerged after the confirmed case.

The state’s Department of Labor and Industries also said Friday they opened a separate investigation on Thursday evening, after being notified of the outbreak by Clark County Public Health.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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