Skagit County Public Health administered 226 COVID-19 tests and 34 doses of the vaccine Monday on the first day of the newly reopened testing and vaccination site at the Skagit County Fairgrounds.

The county reopened the site as the rate of new COVID-19 cases continues to soar due to the highly contagious delta variant.

According to state data, the county’s infection rate is about 500 cases per 100,000 residents over the prior 14 days — higher than at any time during the pandemic.

County spokesperson Laura Han said the site is scheduled to be open 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, but staff stayed until 9:30 p.m. Monday to administer tests to everyone who was waiting.

She said the Skagit County Board of Commissions is looking into offering additional support to Public Health so staff aren’t required to consistently work long hours.

The rate of COVID-19-related hospitalizations is also exceeding priors highs.

Skagit Valley Hospital’s intensive care unit was either near or at capacity all of last week. As of Friday, 29 of the unit’s 30 beds were taken by COVID-19 patients.

Six of these patients had severe enough cases to require a ventilator, according to a hospital spokesperson.

CEO Brian Ivie said this many COVID-19 patients hasn’t been seen at any point during the pandemic, and attributed it to the delta variant. In the week ending Aug. 22, 33 people came to the hospital with COVID-19.

The vast majority of these patients were unvaccinated, Ivie said. Statewide, about 94% of those hospitalized for the disease are not fully vaccinated.

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

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