COVID-19 Cases Plateau in Lewis County Amid Concerns of ‘Fourth Wave’


Lewis County’s COVID-19 cases are plateauing, with 33 cases reported in the week of March 21, slightly up from the prior week’s 29. Locally, cases began rapidly declining in late January, but started stagnating in March. Nationwide, cases are on the rise, with officials pointing to new variants as well as relaxed public health measures.

“Yes, there will be some version of a fourth wave in some places. We hope it’s not us,” said Lewis County Public Health Director J.P. Anderson this week. “We cannot think we’re immune to this, and at the same time, I think we cannot overreact to that.”

As public health officials brace for potential surges, fingers are crossed that the much-anticipated influx in vaccine supply will arrive in time to stifle transmission. Anderson said that “dramatic” increase is expected in the coming weeks, and may bring with it the introduction of local walk-through clinics.

While county officials have been giving weekly updates on local COVID-19 activity, Anderson said they are prepared to report any major outbreaks or dramatic shifts in cases as they happen.

Meanwhile, the county is reporting a total of 3,382 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. This week a new death was reported — someone in their 90s — bringing the death toll up to 51 countywide, and the Chehalis ZIP code broke the 1,000 case threshold.

No new congregate care outbreaks have been reported, and Anderson told county commissioners that no transmission is being detected within schools.

In terms of vaccine distribution, public health officials are reporting that the majority of local seniors have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And in general, Lewis County continues to catch up with the rest of the state in its vaccination efforts. As of Wednesday afternoon, 21.53% of Lewis County residents had gotten at least one shot, compared to 27.4% statewide. Lewis County now ranks 28 out of 39 counties in that metric. In terms of fully vaccinated residents, however, the county is still lagging behind in 34th place.