Thurston County Public Health and Social Services on Friday reported 87 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total reported since the start of the pandemic up to 6,384.
Since the start of the week on Monday, the county has reported a total 243 new diagnoses.
The rate of positive cases over the last seven days is at 7.7 percent.
Transmission of the virus remains high in Thurston County. Over the last two weeks, the county has reported 284.8 cases per 100,000 people.
On Friday, Thurston Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek wrote a new letter to the community clarifying her reasoning behind recommending a return to in-person learning for K-5 and middle school students.
Abdelmalek said the risks behind returning students safely back to school weren’t nearly as severe as they had initially thought, especially when proper health precautions were made.
“What data and experience has shown us is while there were cases in schools related to levels of COVID-19 activity in the community, mitigation measures and robust collaboration between schools, families, and the public health department lowered the risk of transmission within the schools,” she wrote.
She continued: “It may take months before educators and staff are eligible for vaccine and then weeks until they are fully protected. We have the tools we know will work to limit risk of transmission in schools.”
Washington state vaccination efforts are currently being aimed toward people over 65 years of age, and high-risk health care and emergency services workers.
Abdelmalek also noted that many sections of the student population are struggling and mental health-related emergency room visits in young people have increased since the start of the pandemic, though no additional data was given.
Many public schools in Thurston County have also been operating with small groups in their buildings for many months, she said, which has added to their confidence in returning to in-person instruction.
“The schools are using screening and mitigation measures as set by state guidance and have carefully developed processes in place to handle an increase of students in the hybrid model,” she wrote.
Here are some additional numbers related to the coronavirus situation, both regionally and nationally, that were reported as of Friday afternoon:
• The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported 221 new cases and seven new deaths. The death toll from the virus stands at 398 Pierce County residents. The total number of cases stands at 32,606. Transmission remains very high with Pierce County over the last two weeks has reported 441 cases per 100,000 people.
• Since the start of the pandemic, the state Department of Health has reported 293,978 confirmed cases, 4,243 deaths and 17,517 hospitalizations due to COVID-19. So far, a total of 545,226 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed, with a total of 774,425 having been so far delivered to the state and its providers. An average of 26,412 doses are being administered every seven days, with the state hoping to eventually meet the goal of 45,000 every seven days. A total 6.04 percent of Washingtonians have started the vaccination process so far.
• The total number of deaths accumulated in the United States due to COVID-19 stands at 431,619, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 25,615,268 cases have been confirmed thus far, with 1,102,650 of those reported in the last seven days. A total 27.9 million vaccinations have been administered nationwide.