Clark County COVID-19 case rate drops but weekly deaths rise

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Clark County’s rate of recent COVID-19 cases saw a third week of decline, as local business leaders created an outreach program to get more county residents vaccinated.

In Clark County Public Health’s weekly COVID-19 update on Oct. 14, the health department reported a recent case rate of 412.5 cases per 100,000 in the past 14 days, down from 450.9 cases per 100,000 last week.

Since Oct. 7, the county saw 1,016 additional COVID-19 cases, according to the Oct. 14 report, including 849 confirmed cases and 167 probable ones based on antigen testing. Those new cases put Clark County’s total at 35,704 confirmed cases and 3,753 probable cases since the outbreak began. There were 1,091 active cases as of the Oct. 14 report, which are ones in the isolation period.

Clark County Public Health reported 18 more confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Oct. 14 update, up from 13 reported the prior week. The deaths included three men older than 80, two men in their 70s, six men in their 60s, a man in his 50s, a man in his 40s, three women in their 70s, a woman in her 60s, and a woman in her 40s. The county also reported two deaths suspected to be because of COVID-19. Those included a man over the age of 80 and a woman in her 70s.

Those new deaths put the county’s total of deaths at 451, including 412 confirmed and 39 suspected to be due to the disease.

COVID-19 patient occupancy of hospital beds dropped for another week in the county as of the health department’s update. Patients with the disease occupied 15.1% of beds in the county as of Oct. 7, down from 18.1% on Oct. 7. COVID-19 patients also occupied fewer intensive care unit (ICU) beds, with 31.7% beds in the county, down from 39.7%. Recent COVID-19 admissions declined to 13.4 per 100,000 population in the past seven days, down from 14.4 per 100,000 the week prior.

Though fewer COVID-19 patients were in hospitals in Clark County, overall occupancy increased as of the Oct. 14 report. As of Clark County Public Health’s report, 91.4% of hospital beds were occupied and 93.7% of ICU beds were occupied, up from 89.7% of all beds and 88.9% of ICU beds reported on Oct. 7.

The county’s share of COVID-19 confirmed cases statewide remained about the same while it saw a slight increase of its share of deaths as of Oct. 14. According to Washington State Department of Health data, Clark County had roughly 5.8% of confirmed cases and about 5.6% of deaths in the state.

In the wake of the delta variant which has led to the current levels of COVID-19 activity, business leaders in Clark County have organized outreach efforts in an attempt to get more of the county’s residents vaccinated.

Local groups Identity Clark County, the Greater Vancouver Chamber and Southwest Washington Hospitality Roundtable launched Keep Us Open: Set A Date To Vaccinate to encourage vaccinations in the county, an Oct. 11 news release from the groups stated. Though about two-thirds of county residents are fully vaccinated, the delta variant’s increased activity has caused concern about the region’s medical system and disruptions to business activity, according to the release.

The campaign includes a website, keepusopen.us, which points out locations of vaccines, answers common questions and asks for vaccine testimonials, the release stated. The campaign also features signs, social media posts and posters in multiple languages for participating employers, churches and gathering places.

Identity Clark County President Ron Arp said many regional businesses still face significant COVID-19-related challenges, months after the majority of lockdown restrictions were lifted. Businesses face staff absences due to illness, isolation and quarantine periods, exacerbating the strain on an already impacted workforce, the release stated.

“Vaccines are the best way to protect active people from severe illness, and the best way to ensure we keep our community and economy open,” Arp said.

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