SnoCo cases

Officials OK COVID boosters for more people; local virus cases hold steady

COVID-19 booster shots are now available to all adults as health officials aim to ward off a winter surge of coronavirus cases.

Under the new guidance, anyone 18 or older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose. For anyone who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the wait already was just two months. People can mix-and-match boosters from any company.

“Vaccination continues to be the safest and most effective tool we have to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Getting the unvaccinated their first shots remains a priority,” state secretary of health Dr. Umair Shah said in a news release. “A booster dose will further protect fully vaccinated individuals by increasing the vaccine’s effectiveness in their bodies, which otherwise may wane over time.”

Since booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were approved for certain individuals late last month, more than 345,000 booster doses have been given out across Washington.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a plea for action by those who had previously qualified but hadn’t yet signed up for a booster. Older Americans and people with risks such as obesity, diabetes or other health problems should try to get one before the holidays, the CDC advised.

The expansion makes tens of millions more Americans eligible for an extra dose of protection.

Teen boosters aren’t yet under discussion, and kid-sized doses of Pfizer’s vaccine are just now rolling out to children ages 5 to 11.

“The vaccine is the path out of the pandemic,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “As we head into winter, we want to make sure to have as much protection against COVID as we can.”

Local COVID cases

In the Stanwood ZIP code, there were 72 new COVID-19 cases reported last week — down slightly from 75 the week before, according to the Snohomish Health District.

In Snohomish County, the COVID case rate decreased slightly to 352 cases per 100,000 residents from Nov. 7-20, the Snohomish Health District reported Monday, Nov. 22. There were 61 COVID patients in county hospitals and 27 of whom required a ventilator. There were 25 new COVID deaths in the county in the past week.

Camano recorded 29 new cases last week, down from 35 the week prior, according to Island County Public Health.

Combined, Stanwood and Camano cases recorded last week totaled 101 — about on par with the weekly number of new cases for each of the past 12 weeks.

In Island County, the case rate decreased ever-so-slightly to 193.4 infections per 100,000 residents from Nov. 4-17, Island County Public Health officials said Nov. 18.

The Stanwood-Camano School District reported 18 new COVID cases detected from Nov. 10-16 requiring 46 people to quarantine. No classes were in remote learning.

Flu shots available

Childhood flu vaccine rates have dropped significantly this fall compared to the previous two flu seasons.

Recent data from the state’s immunization information system shows flu vaccinations were down about 25% during September and October for children 6 months through 5 years.

Since last year’s flu activity was very low, health experts expect fewer people to have natural immunity this year due to a lack of exposure, especially in younger age groups, state health officials said last week.

Typically, flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May.

“We are concerned that our youngest children remain vulnerable to both flu and COVID-19 illness,” said Shah, the state secretary of health. “Although the COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available for kids 4 and under, the flu vaccine is. As parents, we want to do everything in our power to protect our children – and vaccination is an important tool that’s available to every family in Washington.”

The flu vaccine is available at pharmacies, clinics and health care provider offices across the state. To search for flu vaccines, visit vaccines.gov.

{child_tagline}

{span}Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter {/span}@Evan_SCN{span} for updates throughout the week and on Instagram {/span}@evancaldwell.scn{span} for more photos.{/span}

{/child_tagline}

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.