For the first time in more than two months, no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Lewis County Public Health and Social Services’ weekly activity report.
According to the department’s latest report released Wednesday, the activity of the viral disease locally saw a drop the week of Nov. 14-20. New cases fell more than 41% to 130 when compared to the week prior.
Fifteen hospitalizations and six active outbreaks in congregate care facilities were also reported, both a decrease from the previous reporting week.
Though the transmission rate in Lewis County fell to 487.2 new cases per 100,000 population, it remains almost twice as high as the state average, according to Public Health. Lewis County’s seven-day hospitalization rate is also more than twice the rate of the state’s.
COVID-19 booster shots also became available this week to all Washington state residents over the age of 18 who received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNtech shots six months or more ago.
Boosters for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have already been highly recommended by federal and state health officials for those 18 and older.
Statewide, more than 860,000 residents have received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We want people to be as safe and as healthy as possible. Expanding booster eligibility to all adults will further protect families, especially as we gather for the holidays,” Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah said in a statement. “We know COVID-19 vaccines work, and boosters further increase immunity and protection. If you are 18 or older, and enough time has passed, I strongly encourage you to get a booster dose.”
The Department of Health says any of the three COVID-19 vaccine boosters may be administered to eligible individuals, regardless of which previous series of vaccine was used for primary inoculation.
In Lewis County, roughly 54.5% of all eligible residents, age 12 and older, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That figure statewide is nearly 72%, according to Public Health.
Recently, children aged 5 and older were approved to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
Drive-Up COVID-19 Testing Opens at Lewis County Mall
Starting Friday, Nov. 26, Discovery Health MD and the Department of Health will offer a drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic to the public four days a week at the Lewis County Mall.
According to a news release from Lewis County Public Health and Social Services, the site will be open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the parking lot, next to the old Sears store.
Public Health recommends bringing identification and proof of insurance, though no one will be turned away. Registration online is also encouraged. That can be done at www.testdirectly.com/LC.
“The Lewis County Mall site has removed barriers for COVID-19 testing in our community and improved our ability to detect and respond to COVID-19 by offering free testing for everyone without requiring a visit with a health care provider,” Lewis County Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick said in a statement.
Public Health recently requested assistance from the state for COVID-19 testing as regional resources continued to be stretched thin due to high demand and high transmission, according to the news release.
The county hopes the addition of this clinic will help alleviate the strain put on private providers.
“We are supportive of increasing testing throughout the state. By expanding our services in Lewis County, where there are high positivity rates, we are helping to increase access to testing,” said Discovery Health’s chief growth officer Daniel Pulse.
This clinic uses lab-based polymerase chain reaction tests, largely intended for anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 or has had direct exposure to has had COVID-19. Results are expected back within 48 to 72 hours, according to the news release, and are delivered securely to patients through an online portal sent via email or text message.