Weekly caseloads of COVID-19 jumped 15% the week of Nov. 7-13 as Lewis County Public Health and Social Services on Wednesday reported 221 new cases, 21 new hospitalizations and two deaths caused by the viral disease.
For Lewis County, this was the second consecutive week of increased COVID-19 activity. Transmission increased to 548 new cases per 100,000 population over the last two weeks. There are still seven ongoing outbreaks at congregate care facilities.
The only data point that appears to have declined was the number of deaths reported, though the seven-day hospitalization rate in Lewis County remains more than three times higher than the state’s average.
“We’re continuing to see quite a bit of COVID. That’s obviously not what we want and it has an impact on our daily lives, it has an impact on schools,” Public Health Director JP Anderson said during a Wednesday meeting with county department leaders.
Total cases reported in Lewis County since the start of the pandemic now stand at 10,598 while deaths are currently at 153.
In Lewis County, 59.4% of residents over the age of 12 have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine while 54.2% of that population has been fully vaccinated.
With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11, Anderson said the county is working with contractor Bird’s Eye Medical to reach out to school districts interested in hosting vaccine clinics and are continuing to assist in promoting access to families seeking vaccination.
Anderson also said Discover Health is expected to soon begin offering nasal swab COVID-19 tests at the Lewis County Mall parking lot. The testing clinic is expected to be paid for by the state Department of Health and will be open to all Lewis County residents.
The county, through its partnership with Bird’s Eye, is still offering scheduled rapid testing at the fairgrounds for K-12 students.
In a Wednesday morning press availability with state Department of Health leaders, Acting Assistant Secretary of Health Michele Roberts said 80% of people in the state 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Child vaccination rates have also had a decent jumpstart.
“Since eligibility expanded earlier this month, more than 60,000 kids between the ages 5 and 11 have received their first dose of Pfizer vaccine. What’s great is our pediatric vaccine supply is also increasing every day, which means it's becoming easier for families to find vaccine locations near them,” Roberts said.
To date, the state has ordered about 500,000 doses of pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Robert said.
About 10% of eligible children aged 5 to 11 have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine since its approval, the Associated Press reports.
COVID-19 vaccine locations are available at www.vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.