More than half the county is still not fully vaccinated, says Public Health

While the county’s 14-day COVID-19 Incident Rate had been trending downward , the rate took a slight jump.

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OKANOGAN – While the county’s 14-day COVID-19 Incident Rate had been trending downward for the past several weeks, the rate took a slight jump to 220 per 100,000 of population, according to Okanogan County Public Health’s Monday, Dec. 13 update.

The new rate was just 16 in 100,000 higher than the previous week’s report. The agency said there were 95 residents who tested positive for the virus in that 14-day period. Only 46 percent of the county’s residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the agency.

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Public Health recently updated the Okanogan County COVID-19 vaccination map. It is live and will be updated weekly on Tuesdays: https://okanogancountycovid19.org/covid-19-data/.

“OCPH removed 5,300 H-2A workers who were vaccinated in Okanogan County and have since left. As of Dec. 6, 2021: 46 percent of Okanogan County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (received at least two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or at least one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), writes Jessica Kuzma, a spokesperson for OCPH. “These vaccination numbers will differ from those presented on the Washington Department of Health vaccine dashboard because DOH does not currently remove seasonal workers from county vaccination totals.”

In the three days leading up to Dec. 13, there were six new cases of COVID-19. These occurred in Tonasket, Wauconda, Omak, Okanogan, Brewster and Twisp.

The cumulative total for the county is 5,686 cases of of COVID-19 recorded in county residents since testing began. Breakthrough cases, positive cases in fully vaccinated people, is 323 since December 2020. The number of fatalities attributed to the virus is 77.

In Public Health’s cumulative totals for people testing positive, Omak has the highest with 1,428, up eight since the previous 14-day update on Dec. 6. The next highest is Brewster, with 990 (up three); Tonasket, 803 (up six); Okanogan, 644 (up five); Oroville, 607 (up four); Twisp, 205 (up three); Malott, 140; Pateros, 146; Nespelem, 138; Riverside, 136 (up one); Winthrop, 129; Coulee Dam, 102; Carlton, 46; Loomis, 41 (up one); Elmer City, 42; Conconully, 30; “unidentified,” 27 (down one); Wauconda, 15 (up one); Methow, 10 and Mazama, seven.

The most deaths from the virus have occurred in Tonasket residents. 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 43 deaths are listed as “unidentified.”

The largest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county by a wide margin is in the 20-39 age group with 1,767 (up four) and three deaths. The 40-59 age group has had 1,496 (up 10) and five deaths. Next is the 0-19 age group with 1,303 cases (up seven) and no fatalities. Those aged 60-79 have had 924 cases (up seven) and 38 deaths. Age 80 and above have had 191 cases (up two) and 12 fatalities. There were five cases and 19 deaths listed in the “unreleased” category.

Statewide

The Washington State Department of Health reported a total of 693,335 confirmed cases as of Dec. 9. There have been 9,535 COVID-19 deaths in Washington. Booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are now available for teens ages 16 and 17. DOH expanded booster dose eligibility to include everyone 16 and older following guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

“Ensuring booster doses are available to as many people as possible will add an extra layer of protection across our communities this winter, help keep families healthy as we gather this holiday season, and increase immunity as the omicron variant spreads worldwide,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “Please do not delay, make an appointment to get your booster shot as soon as you are eligible.”

Everyone 16 and older is recommended to get a booster dose:

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  • Six months after receiving the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or
  • Two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to the CDC, initial data suggests COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against omicron and other variants.

“The recent emergence of omicron is another reminder of the importance of vaccinations and boosters, especially for children and adults with chronic conditions that place them at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, Chief Science Officer. “We know vaccines are safe and effective at protecting us from hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Getting a booster is the best way to increase immunity that tends to wane over time.”

Across Washington, more than 1,282,000 people have received an additional dose, which includes both boosters and third doses. Boosters can be mixed and matched, which means adults can get any COVID-19 vaccine available. However, Pfizer is currently the only vaccine authorized for people ages 16 and 17.

To make a vaccine or booster appointment, visit Vaccine Locator, Vaccines.gov, or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available. If you are unable to make an appointment at one location due to high demand, please try another. DOH appreciates the public’s patience as vaccine supply continues to increase across the state. Those with further questions are encouraged to visit DOH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions webpage or talk to their trusted health care provider.

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