Public Health Director: Lewis County’s COVID-19 Hospitalization Rate Twice State Average as Cases Rise

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During a weekly update on COVID-19 activity in the county, Lewis County Public Health & Social Services (PHSS) Director JP Anderson reported an increase in case numbers and hospitalizations, noting that the county’s hospitalization rate is twice that of the state average.

In the week of April 29 to May 5, PHSS counted 69 new COVID cases, an increase from the 42 reported during the week prior.

There were six hospitalizations and two deaths from the viral disease reported during the most recent timeframe.

Cases have ticked upward for the last few weeks. Compared to the state average, case rates of Lewis County appear to be low, but in neighboring Thurston County, 571 new cases were tallied in the last week. Anderson theorized that cases in Lewis County may be underreported, whether for lack of testing or for increases in at-home testing.

“If you look at our case rate, our 14-day (rate), it is less than half of the state average. But if you look at our hospitalization rate, it is twice the state average,” Anderson said. “A lot of things could go into that.”

He said the high hospitalization rate was either coming from cases being underreported or it was a consequence of the area’s low vaccination rate. Vaccination against COVID-19 has been shown to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization, and 56.7% of all residents in the county have so far initiated vaccination, compared to 81.8% of people across Washington ages 5 and older.

In the last 30 days, Anderson said there have been 22 hospitalizations for COVID in the county.

There were also four active outbreaks in congregate care settings reported in the most recent update from PHSS, an increase from the previous reporting week.

PHSS noted that 162 individuals were tested at the Lewis County Mall testing site between April 29 and May 5; 9,062 tests have been administered there since Nov. 26, 2021.

Vaccination is still free and accessible for people ages 5 and older. To find COVID-19 vaccine appointments and locations, visit https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/.

“I encourage everyone to get up to date on all their COVID-19 vaccinations,” Anderson said.