New numbers show hospital visits for Covid-like illnesses continue to fall
CLARK COUNTY — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Clark County is now at 327, with 19 fatalities.
That death toll rose by two since Thursday, according to Clark County Public Health, with a man and woman, both in their 80s, passing away from the infection.
In the past week, Clark County has added 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with three new deaths this week.
As of today, there are 18 people hospitalized, with four of those in intensive care. That number has remained relatively steady throughout the week.
Women continue to make up the bulk of the confirmed cases in Clark County, with 192 of the confirmed cases, though 16 of the 19 deaths have been men.
A graph showing the epidemiological curve of the outbreak indicates a downward trend in new cases, though Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick warned that data sometimes lags a day or two, making the last few days’ worth of reporting somewhat untrustworthy.
The number of people coming into emergency rooms or being admitted with illnesses similar to COVID-19 also continues to decline.
As of today, only 0.5 percent of emergency room visits and hospital admissions had Covid-like symptoms, down from nearly 3 percent this time last month. That rate is also now more closely aligned to a typical year in terms of respiratory illnesses.
Public Health also released a new map showing which zip codes in Clark County have seen the most cases, per 100,000 residents. This data only represents confirmed cases and the zip codes in which they live. It does not account for undiagnosed cases or areas where the confirmed cases were exposed to the virus.
NOTE: Clark County Public Health does not currently provide data on recovery rates for COVID-19. Area hospitals have, so far, declined to release that data. It is also unclear currently how many of the existing COVID-19 cases are in long-term care facilities or recovering at home, versus those who remain hospitalized.
Update on testing
Meanwhile, there are signs that the situation continues to improve when it comes to testing. As of April 22, the state had recorded 3,337 total tests conducted for Clark County, though that number does not include rapid-result testing, which is now much more common.
Today, Clark County Public Health and The Vancouver Clinic announced a joint venture to bring point of care testing to long-term care facilities.
“Vancouver Clinic is doing universal testing in any long-term care facility that has had a case in either staff or a resident,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer and Public Health director. “We know with this disease elderly people and those with chronic health conditions are more likely to die so we want to do whatever we can to protect this population.”
Out of the 19 deaths blamed on COVID-19 so far in the county, 12 have involved someone over the age of 80. Only one person younger than 60 has died.
Clark County Public Health says 10 of the 19 victims have been from long-term care facilities, though it is unknown how many of those died in area hospitals, or at the facility in which they were living.
Right now 66 of the 327 confirmed cases have been connected to long-term care facilities, with 37 from assisted and independent living homes, 16 at adult family homes, and 13 connected to skilled nursing facilities.
A Vancouver Clinic care team is going into those facilities and collecting specimens, which allows those residents to remain in their homes and not have to travel and risk potential exposure.
“It’s been our honor to work with Clark County Public Health in service to our community,” said Alfred Seekamp, Vancouver Clinic chief medical officer. “We want to make sure the residents and staff of the long-term care homes have access to testing without having to leave their homes.”
Vancouver Clinic started going into care homes on April 9 and in the past two weeks has tested 600 staff and residents of long-term care homes in Clark County.
Outside of long-term care homes, Vancouver Clinic now has the ability to do rapid point of care testing for COVID-19 at their Columbia Tech Center and Ridgefield locations for new or established patients. Those tests for COVID-19 must be ordered at the discretion of a Vancouver Clinic healthcare provider. Patients need to call ahead (360) 882-2778 or schedule a video visit.