Thurston Adds 67 Cases Tuesday as Providence Limits Some Surgeries to Preserve Capacity

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Thurston County added 67 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday as transmission rates continue a troubling trend.

In all, there have been 3,674 confirmed cases and 49 deaths, according to the latest data from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services. Of that total, there have been 228 hospitalizations and 2,130 cases resulted in recovery. So far, this week has seen 171 cases — which is already over half of the weekly totals for the last three weeks.

The new cases today follow a record 104 cases Monday, however health officer Dimyana Abdelmalek said Tuesday morning during. a board of commissioners meeting that Monday's abnormally high count may be due to reporting delays for test results. The state Department of Health also reported a "slowdown in system processing" over the weekend.

"However, it is still a significant number of cases no matter how we look at it," Abdelmalek said. "These are not cases that are related to outbreaks. These are cases that are occurring in our community with a wide range of ages represented including children."

She added week to week totals have recently appeared to plateau, but recent high case counts have given the department pause.

"Yesterday's numbers give rise to concern and we're going to be watching this very carefully to see whether this is the beginning of the post holiday spike," Abdelmalek said.

The county is investigating 12 ongoing outbreaks at congregate care settings, according to the data, bringing the total number of such outbreaks to 31. The county also reported 8,1263 total viral laboratory tests have been processed with 8.6% returning positive results in the past week.

Additionally, the state reported that about 238 people per 100,000 in Thurston County have been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past two weeks. That rate is substantially higher than the goal of less than 25, indicating high transmission rates in the county.

Department director Schelli Slaughter said 84.4 percent of beds in the western region are currently occupied. She added Providence St. Peter Hospital has started to limit some surgeries to help preserve capacity over the next four to six weeks.

"Right now they are only doing emergency, urgent surgical procedures and procedures in which someone's life may be impacted in the next 4 to 6 weeks," Slaughter said.

Slaughter said she hopes Thurston County will get its first shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in the next couple of week and the health department is currently planning how to best distribute the vaccine.

In the region

— Pierce County added 406 new cases and two deaths on Tuesday. The county has now reported 18,210 cases and 253 deaths.

— Lewis County reported 25 new cases on Tuesday a total of 1,509 cases and 18 deaths.

— Grays Harbor County announced 72 new cases as of Monday night giving the county 1,298 with 17 deaths. The significant case increase is due to an outbreak of the virus, but the county health department says they will not disclose the location of an outbreak "unless we believe the public was exposed."

— Mason County reported 13 new cases Tuesday, bring to the total to 910 cases with 11 deaths.

Around the state, nation and world

The state Department of Health has reported 187,327 cases and 2,967 deaths as of Monday night. In all, there have been 11,841 hospitalizations and 1.6 percent of confirmed cases have resulted in death.

Nationally, more than 15.1 million cases have been reported and at least 285,880 people have died as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Globally, over 68.1 million cases have been reported and over 1.5 million people have died as of Tuesday, the data show.

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