Lewis County’s COVID-19 Cases Continue to Decline, But Vaccination Rate Lagging Behind State Average


As Washington state comes off a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Lewis County continues to see a significant decline in cases.

For the first time since last fall, the county’s weekly case count has fallen into the 30s — an optimistic departure from the streak of triple-digit weekly case counts the county saw from November to January.

And that decline seems consistent throughout the county. From community to community, cases appear to be leveling out. A look at county data, which breaks down cases by ZIP code, shows no major spikes in cases in the last few weeks.

Most recently, Lewis County Public Health and Social Services announced 16 new COVID-19 cases from Wednesday to Thursday, bringing the county’s total case count since last year to 3,302. The death toll stands at 50.

Of those 16 cases, three people were younger than 20, one is in their 30s, four are in their 40s, one is in their 50s, three are in their 60s and three are 80 or older. Two “probable cases” were also reported in that time, but they are not counted toward the county’s overall case count.

Lewis County is still falling behind the rest of the state in terms of how many residents have received a dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, 10.65% of Lewis County residents have received a dose, compared to the state average of 18.04%. The only county with a lower vaccination rate is Franklin County at 9.88%.

The persistent lagging of Southwest Washington counties, including Lewis County, has again prompted U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to push state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah to allocate doses with more transparency.

Statewide, Washington has achieved its goal of distributing 45,000 doses per day, and locally Lewis County has been operating mass vaccination clinics more consistently at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.

Eligibility for vaccines is set to expand to some critical workers earlier than expected — next Wednesday. The next phase — Phase 1B tier 2 — will include high-risk critical workers including those working in certain congregate settings such as agriculture, fishing vessels, grocery stores, correction facilities and public transit. The tier also includes people 16 and older who are pregnant or have a disability putting them at higher risk.

Whereas vaccine supply was originally identified as the main limiting factor in Lewis County, public health officials warned that a sudden influx of vaccines could make on-the-ground logistics the main barrier to local distribution.

To sign up for email alerts from the county, including announcements about upcoming vaccination clinics, to go http://eepurl.com/gVWaTH.

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