0908 covid update

Another wave of COVID-19 has driven up case numbers in Skagit County during and following the holidays.

Skagit County Public Health reported 367 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

This comes after five consecutive weeks of the weekly number of new cases being below 300.

The previous two Sunday-through-Saturday weeks each had 161 new cases.

The 367 new cases came over just four reporting days, instead of the typical five. No reporting was done on New Year’s Eve.

The seven-day Sunday-through-Saturday period running Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 included three new COVID-19 deaths and 18 new hospitalizations.

Through Jan. 1, the county has had 151 COVID-19 deaths and 805 hospitalizations throughout the pandemic.

Island Hospital saw one COVID-related death between Dec. 20 and Jan. 3.

Since March 2020, the hospital has seen 1,338 positive cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths from the virus.

Every industry will likely see an impact from this most recent wave of COVID-19 cases, many of which are from the omicron variant, hospital spokesperson Laura Moroney said.

“We need to practice patience and do what we need to do to get through it,” she said.

The Federal Drug Administration recently approved booster shots for children between the ages of 12 and 15. The timeline is also shortened for a child booster shot to five months after the initial set of shots.

The Island Hospital call center has been flooded with calls from people who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, Moroney said. The hospital’s testing tent can only handle so many people, so it’s important to seek tests elsewhere to save hospital resources for the seriously ill, she said.

The Anacortes School District and many other organizations accept at-home negative tests, so Moroney said she encouraged people to use at-home tests if they can get them. She also encouraged use of websites like testdirectly.com, which lists testing centers by ZIP code.

People can also check with area pharmacies and Skagit County Public Health about tests.

The Public Health is offering free at-home COVID-19 testing kits (one kit per family) while supplies last. They are available 3-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the office, 700 S. Second St. in Mount Vernon. This week, that location will also host vaccines and booster appointments. Appointments, which are required, can be made online at skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine.

The access tent at the hospital is still open to those patients who have extreme symptoms and need help, she said.

The hospital is also following new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which require a five-day quarantine period for health care workers if they do not have symptoms and can provide a negative test before returning to work.

As of Monday, the county is no longer providing daily updates online on COVID-19 cases, hospitalization and death rates. Instead, the county is encouraging everyone seeking data to turn to the state dashboard at www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/DataDashboard. It includes information from all reporting public health districts, including Skagit County.

Anyone visiting that site can select “Skagit County” on the lefthand side of the dashboard to look at numbers specific to this area.

“We understand that this change may be a bit uncomfortable for some people—especially those who are keeping track of local data at home,” Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health director, said in a press release. “But by shifting away from reporting on our webpage and encouraging people to use the state dashboard, we are actually ensuring that folks have access to the most data possible.”

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(1) comment


Covid rates reach record highs? Perhaps our local Grocery stores should start enforcing the mask mandates.

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