COVID cases remain low, with the seven-day case rate in Okanogan County at 39 per 100,000 population as of March 30, according to the state Department of Health (DOH).
The seven-day rate for Washington was 54 as of March 30, a slight increase from the rate of 40 around March 19. Cases have remained relatively flat since early March, after dropping from an all-time pandemic high of 1,800 cases at the beginning of January, according to DOH.
Some counties in western Washington and northwestern Washington are starting to see rates above 50 per 100,000.
The BA.2 Omicron subvariant now accounts for three-quarters of all cases in Washington. The prevalence of BA.2 has been steadily increasing, from 22.5% of COVID cases as of March 5 to 76% as of March 26.
While Omicron is highly contagious — and BA.2 appears to be even more contagious than BA.1, the earlier variant — it generally does not cause as severe disease as earlier COVID variants. Thirty percent of people infected by Omicron had no symptoms, whereas 90% or more had symptoms from other variants, according to DOH.
Hospital admissions for COVID in Washington were down to a seven-day rate of 3.7 per 100,000 population of as of April 1, according to DOH. About 4% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID patients.
Okanogan County Public Health is no longer posting weekly COVID reports, although they continue to monitor disease activity. Public Health directs people to the state data dashboard for detailed case counts and epidemiologic curves.
DOH numbers for Okanogan County have always been different — and generally higher —– than those reported by Okanogan County Public Health. Public Health double-checks all reported cases and deaths to confirm that the individual is an Okanogan County resident.
For more information call Public Health at (509) 422-7140, or visit https://doh.wa.gov/emergencies/covid-19/data-dashboard for state numbers.
The state Board of Health is considering whether to add COVID vaccines to the list of immunizations required for school or day care. The board has received several petitions urging them to adopt a rule prohibiting the requirement of any vaccine that has only an emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID vaccine authorized for people under 18. The FDA gave full authorization to the vaccine for people 16 and over. It is approved under an emergency-use authorization for ages 5 through 15.
The board previously considered similar requests and voted not to add a prohibition because of the inability to know what emergencies might exist in the future and what response they might require, according to a summary prepared by the Board of Health chair.
A technical advisory group, which uses a rigorous, evidence-based process to consider new immunization requirements, makes immunization recommendations to the board.
Eleven vaccines are currently required for attendance at school or day care.