COVID Deaths Rise With Another Record Week of Cases in Lewis County


Lewis County’s COVID-19 cases are still on the rise, with another new record for weekly positives reported Wednesday: 382. For the first time, the county’s two-week case rate breached 1,000, hitting 1,005.6 per 100,000 people, according to state data. That’s compared to the state’s average of 592.9.

With 39 new hospitalizations in the past week, the county continues to soar to its highest-ever hospitalization rate.

Six deaths were also reported by the county, although nine more have already been documented by the state, and will soon be added to the county’s numbers as local officials work to verify them, according to Public Health Director JP Anderson.

As reported by The Daily News in Longview, Cowlitz County’s coroner is calling for the emergency use of a refrigeration trailer to help with a surge in COVID-19 deaths. 

But Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said Wednesday that Lewis County isn’t at the same point as its neighbor to the south. COVID-19 deaths occurring at local hospitals generally do not go back to the coroner’s facilities, and McLeod said he hasn’t been hearing that local funeral homes would need the coroner’s help. 

Anderson noted that the highest average daily hospitalization rate previously seen was in January, at three per day. Now, about eight residents are being hospitalized for COVID-19 every day. That number continues to be driven by unvaccianted residents. Providence reported Wednesday that of the 92 COVID-19 patients in its Centralia and St. Peter hospitals, 74 were not fully vaccinated. And of the 22 patients in critical care, only three were fully vaccinated. That data was as of Sept. 8.

Also at an all-time-high is the county’s test positivity rate. On a seven-day average, 25.8% of COVID-19 tests are coming back positive, according to state data. That’s more than double the state’s average of 11.3%. hospitalization rate is also at 67.3, 3.8 times the state average.

Two new congregate care outbreaks were reported by county officials. 

Anderson noted that many nursing homes in the area are under outbreak status, although that could mean as little as two positive cases. 

“Not to diminish that number,” he said. “That’s incredibly high.”

A glimmer of good news this week comes in the form of increasing vaccination rates in Lewis County. According to Anderson, the last few weeks have brought an uptick in demand. 

Of Lewis County’s total population, 44.8% have initiated vaccination and 39.2% are fully vaccinated.