Just 12 new COVID-19 cases in Okanogan County have been confirmed in the past week, as of Monday (Oct. 26).
Three of the cases were in the Methow Valley — one each in Mazama, Winthrop, and Twisp. The Twisp case is a man, age 80 or older.
Daily updates from Okanogan County Public Health include the most current data, but those numbers sometimes change as more information comes in, Public Health explained in a post on their Facebook page.
The new daily cases are reported to counties by Washington state and, after the county does its own verification, it sometimes turns out an individual lives in a different county — or a case is assigned to Okanogan County after another county’s review, Public Health said.
Reports of the two-week incidence rate per 100,000 population can fluctuate because the data reports “active” cases, which are estimated at 14 days, but that can also change as the county learns more. Okanogan County’s incidence rate has remained fairly low in the past week, ranging from 30.4 to 44.5 per 100,000.
As of Oct. 26, the county had recorded a total of 1,139 cases and 13 deaths.
Overall, cases in Washington are increasing, although less steeply than in other parts of the country, including neighboring states like Idaho. Washington surpassed 100,000 COVID cases as of Thursday (Oct. 22). For a stark perspective on what that means for Washington’s 7.6 million people, that is more than the people diagnosed with COVID in all of China, where the population is 1.4 billion — 184 times Washington’s, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Immigrant Relief Fund
Washington workers who miss work because of COVID, either because they are sick or have been ordered to quarantine — but who aren’t eligible for federal stimulus programs and other social supports because of their immigration status — can apply for the state’s Immigrant Relief Fund through Dec. 6.
The $40-million fund, supported by money allocated to the state by the federal government, will provide $1,000 to eligible recipients, with a limit of $3,000 per household.
Gov. Jay Inslee and his staff worked with a coalition representing 430 immigrant rights and social-service organizations to create the fund, which will help a population that has been disproportionately affected by the virus.
People can apply at http://www.immigrantreliefwa.org. Benefits will be disbursed by Dec. 28.
Preliminary COVID vaccine plan
The Washington Department of Health has issued its preliminary plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine — once a vaccine has been approved as safe and effective. The plan, submitted to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week, outlines steps for determining a priority order for access to the vaccine and for recruiting and training vaccine providers.
The preliminary plan — subject to input from the public and the CDC — identifies populations at higher risk, such as health care workers, and those who’ve been disproportionately affected by COVID to receive the vaccine first, since supplies are initially expected to be limited.
To view the plan and related information, go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/vaccine.
Speaking of vaccines, state and county health officials are calling the flu vaccine “essential” this year. Vaccines are available at clinics and pharmacies, including Ulrich’s Valley Pharmacy in Twisp. Vaccines are free to children 18 and under.