OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Public Health reports a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the county, with the 14-day incident rate soaring to 1,693 in 100,000 in population, according to the agency’s Monday, Jan. 24 update.
There have been 730 new cases in the past two weeks. The prior Incident Rate was 996 in 100,000 of population, according to Okanogan County Public Health (OCPH). While normally Public Health shares a three-day report on new cases prior to their update, the new report is for just two days, Jan. 21 and Jan. 22 where their were 208 new cases. New cases for Jan. 23 fall under the agency’s new method for reporting cases.
“Beginning the week of Jan. 24, 2022, OCPH will adjust the frequency of COVID-19 case updates from daily, to weekly posts on Wednesdays. OCPH strives to be as accurate as possible when reporting case data; due to the large number of positive cases that have not been reported to public health (from home tests and from healthcare organizations who are experiencing high demand for testing and are delayed in reporting case numbers), OCPH cannot assure the accuracy of daily case counts,” said the agency.
The number of county residents who have died from the virus since the pandemic began is remained at 78.
The agency encourages residents to keep in mind:
- Active cases of COVID-19 are very high at this time, the number of cases reported over the weekend does not reflect the true number of positives in the community.
- If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 (scratchy throat, headache, cough, fever) assume you have COVID-19 and isolate yourself from others for five days.
- Wear a well-fitting mask in public spaces.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, you might not be contacted by public health. Please refer to our website for information on how to care for yourself at home: (https://okanogancountycovid19.org/tracing-isolation…/)
The cumulative total since testing began is 6,630, up 408 from last week’s update. Breakthrough cases, positive cases in fully vaccinated people since December 2020 increased to 389 (the same as last week).
In Public Health’s cumulative totals for people testing positive, Omak has the highest with 1,602, up 112 since the previous 14-day update on Jan. 17. The next highest is Brewster, with 1,137 (up 90); Tonasket, 925 (up 50); Okanogan, 722 (up 46); Oroville, 659 (up 48); Twisp, 263 (up 32); Pateros, 204 (up 30); Winthrop, 185 (up 27); Riverside, 154 (up seven); Nespelem, 161 (up 13); Malott, 149 (up seven); Coulee Dam, 126 (up seven); Carlton, 54 (up three); Elmer City, 53 (up eight); Loomis, 49 (up four); Conconully, 35 (up three); “unidentified,” 32 (up five); Wauconda, 18 (up one); Methow, 15 (up one) and Mazama, 12 (up two).
The most deaths from the virus have been in Tonasket residents with 17. The next highest number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is in Brewster, eight, followed by Omak, three and Pateros, two. The towns of Malott, Okanogan, Carlton and Oroville have had one death each. A total of 44 deaths are listed as “unidentified.”
The largest number of positive COVID-19 cases by a great margin in the county remains in the 20-39 age group with 2,030 (up 104) and three deaths. The 40-59 age group has had 1,705 (up 88) and five deaths. Next is the 0-19 age group with 1,659 cases (up 179) and no fatalities. Those aged 60-79 have had 1.026 cases (up 36) and 39 deaths (up one). Age 80 and above have had 205 cases (up four) and 12 fatalities. There were five cases and 19 deaths listed in the “unreleased” category.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 997,703 confirmed cases as of Jan. 19. There have been 10,339 COVID-19 deaths in Washington.
In an effort to increase access to at-home rapid tests across the state, DOH is launching a statewide portal that will allow COVID-19 tests to ship directly to households. Washington state residents will be able to visit www.sayyescovidhometest.org to order rapid-antigen COVID tests online and will receive those tests delivered at no cost. People can order up to five free tests for a household. However, supply will be limited at first, and will restock as supply into the state increases.
“We anticipate people’s initial need in the test kits will exceed our current supply pretty quickly, but our focus is sharing what we have right now,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, MPH, CPH, Deputy Secretary for Prevention & Health. “We want to make sure the tests we have are in homes when our state needs testing the most – during this current surge.”
This is a statewide expansion of the ongoing partnership with CareEvolution and Amazon, a pilot program through NIH that delivered 800,000 tests in parts of Eastern Washington. Following the success of that program, DOH reached out to expand the partnership across the state to offer tests to all Washingtonians.
“This is an important step toward making tests more widely available across the state,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “As we work with our federal partners, we look forward to seeing an increase in the number of tests flowing directly into people’s homes over the next several weeks.”
People can still get COVID-19 tests through any of the following options:
- Order free at-home COVID-19 tests through the Federal program COVIDtests.gov.
- Purchase an at-home test at local retailers and pharmacies.
- If you have health insurance, most insurers will now directly cover or pay you back for up to 8 at-home tests per month, for each person on your plan.
- Find a test at a testing location near you.
It is possible to report a positive test result from an at-home test through the state’s COVID-19 hotline. Hotline personnel will determine next steps based on your zip code so results can be recorded and reported. Staff can also guide callers through any questions they may have. The state hotline, 1-800-525-0127 (then press #), is available Monday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Tuesday to Sunday (and observed holidays) 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Language assistance is available.
DOH encourages all smartphone users to download or enable WA Notify for exposure notifications and to plug in positive results. Those using WA Notify at the time they test positive for COVID-19 can record their positive test results directly into WA Notify on their devices.
It is important to note that we are experiencing a surge of cases across the state, so if you have symptoms, you should assume you have COVID-19 even if you don’t have a test to confirm it, and stay home if you’re sick.
Tests can be ordered online at:
- sayyescovidhometest.org (English)
- sayyescovidhometest.org/casa.html (Spanish)