Public Health officials urge precautions, vaccinations as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise

Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington is seeing the beginning stages of a fourth surge in cases

VANCOUVER – Public Health is urging Clark County residents to continue taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, including getting vaccinated, as case numbers continue to rise.

Case numbers are increasing across all age groups, but the biggest increase is occurring in young adults 20 to 49 years old. The smallest increase is among people 65 years and older, which has the highest COVID-19 immunization rates in the county. File photo
Case numbers are increasing across all age groups, but the biggest increase is occurring in young adults 20 to 49 years old. The smallest increase is among people 65 years and older, which has the highest COVID-19 immunization rates in the county. File photo

In the last seven days, Clark County has averaged 80 new cases per day – up from 69 new cases per day the previous seven days. This time last month, Clark County was averaging 43 new cases per day.

Case numbers are increasing across all age groups, but the biggest increase is occurring in young adults 20 to 49 years old. The smallest increase is among people 65 years and older, which has the highest COVID-19 immunization rates in the county.

While the number of Clark County residents who have been vaccinated is increasing daily, a large portion of the community is not yet protected. In Clark County, about 32 percent of people have received at least one dose and about 22 people are fully vaccinated.

“As more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, the virus will have fewer people to infect and less opportunity to spread in our community,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “We must continue to take other steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 – wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing and avoid large gatherings – until we can get more people vaccinated.”

“If you’re not yet vaccinated, now is the time to schedule your appointment,” Melnick added. “COVID-19 vaccine appointments are widely available at medical offices, pharmacies and community vaccination sites.”

During a news conference on Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called the situation “simply too dangerous to persist.” Inslee asked residents of the state to get vaccinated, wear masks and keep their distance.

“Unfortunately, we now are seeing the beginnings of a fourth surge in the state of Washington,” Gov. Inslee said during a Thursday news conference. “And we are starting unfortunately at a higher level than where the other waves started from.”

For more information about how to access vaccine appointments, visit the Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.

Clark County Public Health officials stated that “COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19. Early data also suggests the vaccines are effective against the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The B.1.1.7 variant, which spreads more easily and quickly than other variants, has been documented in Clark County. The state Department of Health estimates that about 50-60 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the state are due to the B.1.1.7 variant.’’

Increasing virus activity

Clark County’s COVID-19 activity rate this week is 147.6 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days. If the trend of increasing case numbers continues, the county’s COVID-19 activity rate is on track to soon exceed 200 cases per 100,000 people.

To remain in Phase 3 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan the county needs to meet at least one of two metrics: a rate of less than 200 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days or a rate of less than 5 new hospital admissions per 100,000 people over seven days. On Monday, the county’s hospitalization rate was 2.4 new admissions per 100,000 people.

The state will next evaluate counties on Mon., May 3, with any phase changes going into effect Fri., May 7.

Information in this report was provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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