Thurston County reported 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths Tuesday as transmission rates continue to decline.
The added cases brings the county's case total to 7,108 while the death total remains at 64, according Thurston County Public Health and Social Services data. Since the county recorded its first case in March 2020, 339 people have been hospitalized at some point in their illness and 6,402 cases have been categorized as either recovered or recovering.
Hospital capacity for the west region, which includes Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Lewis Counties, is at 89.3% percent with 10% of those beds and 14.5% of regional ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, said department director Schelli Slaughter during a board of county commissioners board meeting Tuesday morning.
In a positive development, the test positivity rate for the county has declined to 4.3% as of Tuesday, according to county data. The transmission rate has also declined to 137.9 cases per 100,000 people over the two week period starting Jan. 30, according to state data.
"We are watching carefully to see what impacts weather has had just because many testing sites were closed during that week, as well as to make sure that we are accounting for any lab reporting delays of positive cases," health officer Dimyana Abdelmalek said during the meeting. "Our trend is in line with the rest of the state and I anticipate that we will be in the low-moderate range going forward."
Additionally, the county reported seven ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at congregate care settings such as adult family homes, assisted living facilities, nursing facilities and jails. In all, the county has seen 49 such outbreaks with two new ones in the last week, Slaughter said.
The Thurston County Correctional Facility has been experiencing it's second ongoing outbreak since Jan. 13, which has resulted in 24 incarcerated persons and five staff testing positive for the virus.
However, there have been no new cases since Jan. 28 and no incarcerated persons remain in isolation or quarantine. The county closes outbreaks if 28 days pass with no additional cases, so the correctional facility outbreak may be closed soon.
Regarding vaccinations, 40,636 residents have been vaccinated with 11.4% having received their first dose and and 4.54% are fully vaccinated. Last week, weather-related delays held up shipments of second doses throughout the country, including Thurston County where some clinics had to postpone some of their second dose appointments.
Slaughter said 1,475 first doses have been allocated to health care providers in the Thurston County region this week. She added none of these doses will go to Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, meaning the county will only offer second doses at their clinics this week.
More doses are being offered at pharmacies through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, however Slaughter said its unclear how many will be offered through this program. She advised eligible residents to visit the FindYourPhaseWA.org website to locate places where they can be vaccinated.
People without internet access can call the Department of Health vaccine hotline at 888-856-5816 or the Thurston County PHSS line at 360-867-2610 for information on vaccine availability.
In the region
— Pierce County reported 77 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths on Tuesday. The new data brings its totals to 35,770 cases and 450 deaths.
— Grays Harbor County reported 3,283 confirmed and probable cases and 45 deaths as of Tuesday.
— Lewis County Public Health & Social Services added 12 new cases and no new deaths Tuesday. In all, the county has reported 3,205 cases and 42 deaths as of Tuesday.
— Mason County reported five new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing its total to 1,678 cases with 23 deaths.
— Pacific County has reported a total of 700 confirmed and probable cases with nine deaths as of Tuesday.
Around the state, nation and world
The state Department of Health has reported 335,693 cases and 4,881 deaths as of Tuesday.
In the U.S., more than 28.2 million cases have been reported as of Tuesday with more than 502,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Globally, more than 111.9 million cases have been reported and 2.48 million people have died as of Tuesday.