There were 221 COVID infections in Okanogan County in the week ending Oct. 4, compared with 242 the previous week. Seven of the cases were in Winthrop, nine in Twisp, and three in Carlton.
The overall incidence rate in the county over 14 days was 1,127 per 100,000 people. For vaccinated people, it was 223, and for unvaccinated people, it was 2,146, according to Okanogan County Public Health.
In just a month from early August to early September, the case rate per 100,000 population in Okanogan County went from under 100 to more than 1,000, according to the Washington Department of Health (DOH). New infections have been dropping, but the rate remains high.
As of Oct. 2, 53.6% of the Okanogan County population was fully vaccinated, a 1% increase in a week and a half. The highest rate is in Brewster, where 91% of the population is vaccinated, followed by Elmer City, with 78%, according to Public Health.
Vaccination rates in the Methow Valley are next on the list, with 71% in Winthrop, 64% in Carlton, 61% in Mazama, and 59% in Twisp. Methow has a low rate — in fact, at 38%, it’s second-to-last in the county. Only Wauconda has fewer vaccinated people.
There are 38 people being treated for COVID at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee, including eight from Okanogan County. Ten of those patients are in the ICU and on a ventilator.
All but six of the patients in the hospital aren’t vaccinated, and only one in the ICU had been vaccinated.
Starting in mid-July, hospitalizations statewide were higher than at any point during the pandemic, although they have been declining in recent weeks, according to DOH. Still, current occupancy levels far exceed those observed during the previous peak of infection last winter.
DOH estimated that overall immunity to COVID in Washington is between 59% and 62.6%. Almost 20% of the population had derived immunity from a previous infection with COVID; the other 41% had developed immunity from vaccination. The high number of cases this summer from the Delta surge appears to have increased overall immunity, DOH said.
In September, one in 106 Washingtonians was believed to have an active COVID infection, although not all cases were symptomatic, DOH said.
Okanogan County Public Health has been alerted that fraudulent emails about COVID status were being sent from email@example.com. Public Health is not sending emails about COVID status and this email address is not valid.
Anyone who receives an email from this address should report it to the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office at (509) 422-7200.
Boost your immune system
Okanogan County Public Health is recommending additional measures to help build strong immune systems to seasonal illnesses like flu and colds, as well as to COVID-19.
These measures don’t replace protocols to protect against COVID, including vaccination, wearing a mask in public places, particularly indoors, and maintaining physical distance, Public Health said. “There is no magic pill that can strengthen the immune system overnight, but there are some steps we all can take,” they said.
A healthy diet high in vegetables and fruit and low in added sugars and processed foods can provide vitamins and minerals that help immune systems fight infections and illness. Getting good sleep, finding ways to decrease stress, and getting regular physical activity can also keep us healthy, they said. Vitamins C, D and E and zinc are especially important for the network of cells and proteins that defends our body against infection. There is no evidence that taking these vitamins will prevent or cure COVID-19, but people with healthy immune systems who are physically active and maintain a healthy body weight have less severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19 than people with conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, Public Health said.