COVID-19 Testing

Medical professionals conduct COVID-19 tests at the Providence Hawks Prairie drive-up clinic last November in Lacey.

Thurston County reported 52 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Tuesday.

The added cases bring the county's totals to 5,508 cases and 58 deaths. In all, 325 people have been hospitalized at some point in their illness and 4,687 have recovered or are recovering, according to data from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services. There are four ongoing outbreaks in congregate care settings.

The county has had a test positivity rate of 9.3% in the past week, the data show.

County data also shows that last week logged the second highest number of cases, with 452 cases. The highest weekly case total remains the week of Dec. 7 when 485 cases were reported.

The county is closely monitoring case numbers and hospital capacity in the three weeks after the holidays, said Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek during a board of county commissioners meeting Tuesday. She said the data the county sees in these weeks will inform her decision on whether to recommend in-person learning for elementary and middle school students.

"At this time, however, I'm recommending that our school districts prepare for a likely return to in-person learning for elementary and middle school students within that time frame," Abdelmalek said. "I did want to stress to everyone that it's not a matter of if our schools reopen for in-person learning opportunities, It's when and at what transmission rate as we've joined counties throughout the state in operationalizing the governor's new guidance for spring 2021."

Abdelmalek said at a later Board of Health meeting Tuesday that the county can expect an update on her recommendation for schools the week of Jan. 21.

Vaccines

Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, the health providers in Thurston County are still making their way through the first phase of people eligible for the vaccine. Department director Schelli Slaughter said the county does not have an update on the number of doses that have been administered in Thurston County because the state Department of Health has yet to share that data.

Slaughter said last week that health care providers had administered 1,116 of the 4,375 doses of COVID-19 vaccine the state allocated to the county as of Dec. 27.

Abdelmalek said the county expects the state to release an online website soon that will tell people what phase in the vaccination plan they are in.

For now, the public health department is primarily working to provide information and ensure equitable access to the vaccine. She said the department has plans to offer vaccines at stationary and mobile sites when it starts mass vaccinations in early February.

In the region

— Pierce County announced 143 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and five new deaths. Pierce County now has a total of 28,725 confirmed cases and 339 deaths. Over the past two weeks, Pierce County has reported 4,005 cases, an average of 286.1 per day.

— Lewis County reported 16 new cases and no new deaths on Tuesday. The county now has a total of 2,466 COVID-19 cases with 30 deaths.

— Mason County reported seven new cases Tuesday. The county has now had 1,427 COVID-19 cases with 16 deaths.

— Grays Harbor County's website now embeds the state DOH's data dashboard, which shows that the county has 2,605 confirmed and probable cases as of Sunday with 27 total deaths.

— Pacific County, now part of the Healthy Washington region with Thurston County, reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The county's total case count remains at 616 and six deaths, with 22 cases currently active. The current case rate per 100,000 over 14 days is 120.1.

Across the state, nation and world

The state Department of Health had reported a total of 278,544 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with 3,789 deaths.

In the U.S., 22.8 million cases and more than 380,000 deaths had been reported as of Tuesday, Johns Hopkins University data show.

Globally, over 91.5 million cases had been reported and 1.96 million people had died as of Tuesday, the data show.

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