Thurston County Public Health and Social Services the week of March 22-28 reported 167 new cases of COVID-19, marking the largest caseload reported since late February.
As of Tuesday morning’s press deadline, the death toll from the respiratory infection stood at 76 Thurston County residents, three of which were reported last week.
This comes as state and local health officials take note of a concerning increase of virus transmission in many counties where caseloads had previously plateaued.
“I am increasingly concerned about the signs we’re seeing in our data. Previous declines have stopped, and disease activity may be increasing,” Acting State Health Officer Scott Lindquist said in a statement on March 25. “We all need to recognize that the pandemic is not over and significant risk remains, even as we vaccinate more and more people.
“We need to limit the spread of the virus by actively making good choices in our communities, including wearing masks, keeping our distance, avoiding gatherings and delaying travel,” he continued.
This comes after Thurston County last week confirmed two cases of the possibly more infectious South African variant.
“While we are very encouraged our cases have been low and trending down over the last month, knowing a variant of concern, such as B.1.351, being detected in Thurston County is a stark reminder that this pandemic isn’t over yet and we shouldn’t let our guard down too soon,” said Schelli Slaughter, director of Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, in a statement.
According to the state Department of Health’s Phase and Risk Assessment Dashboard, Thurston County over the last two weeks has reported a low 79.8 cases per 100,000 residents. Thurston is among 23 of 39 Washington state counties experiencing rates below 100 cases per 100,000.
The percentage of positive tests over the last week remained low in Thurston County with only 2.8 percent of tests coming back positive.
Statewide, hospitalization admissions due to COVID-19 have declined since January, according to the Department of Health, though the number of beds occupied by confirmed and suspected cases began increasing in mid-March after weeks of steady declines. Deaths don’t appear to be increasing.
As of Monday afternoon, Thurston County within the last seven days hadn’t reported any hospitalizations due to the virus.
The state of Washington at the same time recently reached a positive milestone: It’s estimated about one million residents in the state — or roughly 16 percent of the population — are now fully vaccinated after more than 3.2 million doses have been administered.
So far, Thurston County has fully vaccinated 16.78 percent of its residents with 27.69 percent having received at least one poke. About 119,000 doses have been administered so far in the county.
Here are some additional numbers related to the coronavirus situation, both regionally and nationally, that were reported as of Tuesday:
• Thurston County Public Health and Social Services reports that, as of Monday afternoon, a total of 7,783 cases have been confirmed, 76 deaths have been reported and 346 total hospitalizations have ever been reported.
• The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported 110 new cases and two new deaths on Monday afternoon. The death toll from the virus stands at 506 Pierce County residents. The total number of cases stands at 39,049. Transmission remains moderate with Pierce County over the last two weeks reporting 190.7 cases per 100,000 people.
• The state Department of Health has reported a total 339,761 confirmed cases, 22,624 hospitalizations, and 5,226 deaths. An average 53,778 doses of COVID-19 vaccine is being administered every seven days.
• The total number of COVID-19 deaths on Monday stood at 546,704, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 30,085,827 cases have been confirmed thus far. A total 146 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered nationwide.