OKANOGAN – The county’s two-week Incident Rate, the number of new positive cases in 100,000 of population continues to drop and is now down to 640 in 100,000, according to Okanogan County Public Health’s Monday, Oct. 25 COVID-19 Data report.
However, the county passed a milestone of sorts, with the number of total positive cases since testing began climbing to 5,087, up from 4,951 in the previous Monday’s report. There were 276 new cases in the previous 14-day period.
Okanogan County had 38 people test positive during the three days leading up to Public Health’s update. The new cases were in Okanogan, nine; Tonasket, eight; Omak, six; Oroville, Brewster and Pateros, four each and Loomis, Riverside and Coulee Dam, one each.
There have been 260 breakthrough cases, positive cases in fully-vaccinated residents, during the span of December 2020 to Oct. 21, 2021, according to the agency. A total of 54.9 percent of the county’s population is fully vaccinated. Sixty-three county residents have died from the virus.
In Public Health’s cumulative totals for people testing positive, Omak has the highest with 1,326, up 24 since the previous 14-day update on Oct. 18. The next highest is Brewster, with 928 (up 10); Tonasket, 664 (up 39); Okanogan, 577 (up 15); Oroville, 517 (up 24); Twisp, 186 (up three); Pateros, 120 (up seven); Nespelem, 119 (up two); Coulee Dam, 100 (up one); Malott, 135; Winthrop, 115 (up two); Riverside, 112 (up three); Carlton, 41 (up one); Elmer City, 36 (up one); Loomis, 33 (up three); Conconully, 27; “unidentified,” 22 (up one); Wauconda, 12; Methow, 10 and Mazama, seven.
Of the 63 Okanogan County residents who have died from the virus, the highest number of fatalities were in Tonasket where 17 people have died. 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 29 deaths (up 10) are listed as “unidentified.”
The largest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county remains in the 20-39 age group with 1,617 (up 39) and three deaths. The 40-59 age group has had 1,349 (up 31) and three deaths. Next is the 0-19 age group with 1,148 cases (up 37) and no fatalities. Those aged 60-79 have had 806 cases (up 23) and 30 deaths. Age 80 and above have had 162 cases (up five) and eight fatalities. There were six cases and 19 deaths listed in the “unreleased” category.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 621,467 (up 8,710) confirmed cases as of Oct. 18. There have been 8,322 (up 124) COVID-19 deaths in Washington.
DOH is urging the public to get a flu vaccine this year to keep themselves and others safe and out of the hospital. Flu activity may be more common this year compared to last year because the closures that were in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been lifted.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a large event vaccine verification emergency order, Proclamation 21-16. A “large event” is a ticketed or preregistered assembly of 10,000 or more individuals at an outdoor venue or 1,000 or more individuals at an indoor venue.
Effective Nov. 15, the proclamation prohibits large event organizers from allowing anyone 12 years and older from attending the event unless the individual either shows proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or shows proof of having received a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of the event. The order also prohibits individuals who are 12 years and older from attending a large event unless they show proof of full vaccination status or a negative test within 72 hours.
DOH is expanding the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for certain individuals following recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
Last month, health care providers began offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) vaccine to certain individuals. Since then, more than 345,000 additional doses (which is a combination of booster and third doses) have been given out across the state. Now, providers can also offer booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines to those who are eligible.
At least six months after completing the primary Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, the following groups of people are eligible for a booster dose:
- Those 65 and older,
- Those 18 – 64 who live in long-term care settings,
- Those 18 – 64 who have underlying medical conditions or those at increased risk of social inequities, and
- Those 18 – 64 who work or live in high-risk settings.
At least two months after receiving the single-dose J&J vaccine, it is recommended that everyone 18 and older receive a booster dose. Pfizer and J&J’s boosters are both full doses, while Moderna’s booster is a half dose.
“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,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH. “A booster dose will further protect fully vaccinated individuals by increasing the vaccine’s effectiveness in their bodies, which otherwise may wane over time.”
According to the FDA and CDC, studies found “mixing and matching” boosters is safe and effective. This means your booster shot does not have to be the same COVID-19 vaccine type your primary vaccination was. For example, someone who received the J&J vaccine can receive a booster dose of J&J, Pfizer, or Moderna. Likewise, someone who received two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) can receive a Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J booster.
COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 12 and older. Currently, there is plenty of vaccine available across the state for everyone who needs a dose. To find a vaccine near you, visit vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/ or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available.