Coronavirus Skagit

The rate of new COVID-19 cases in Skagit County remains high even as case rates elsewhere in the state are declining.

The county is seeing about 400 new cases per week.

As of data from early November, the county had the highest infection rate of any of the state’s 39 counties, and county Health Officer Howard Leibrand said there’s no clear explanation as to why.

Skagit County’s vaccination rate — about 60% of eligible residents — is comparable to both Whatcom and Snohomish counties, but Skagit County’s case rate is nearly twice as high, according to state Department of Health data.

The county’s COVID-19 testing site has given county residents better access to testing than what is available elsewhere in the state, Leibrand said. It’s likely more cases are being identified because more testing is being done, he said.

“That sounds like a cop out, but its true,” he said.

While the case rate has been falling statewide since early September after hitting an all-time high, the rate of new infections in Skagit County has not.

The most recent state-verified data puts the county at 708.3 cases per 100,000 residents from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7.

About 90% of these cases are in unvaccinated people.

The the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, Leibrand said.

While early data shows the county’s infection rate may be slowing, that has yet to be confirmed by the Department of Health.

Leibrand said the return to in-person school has contributed to the surge, with school-age children accounting for about a quarter of new cases.

Nursing home cases are on the rise as well, with the more-infectious delta variant overcoming vaccine immunity in some people.

Spread primarily happens in the home, though Leibrand said he is seeing an increase in case clusters stemming from small businesses as well.

However, neither one of those details are unique to Skagit County, he said.

In total, the county has recorded 12,357 COVID-19 cases, 701 hospitalizations and 126 deaths.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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