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Today, May 4, it was announced that there will be a two-week pause on movement of phases for counties in Washington State. Pend Oreille and Stevens Counties will remain in Phase 3 and Ferry County will remain in Phase 2. Statewide, the two-week pause will allow continued evaluation of new COVID-19 infections and the impacts on hospitals.
Northeast Tri County Health District (NETCHD), in consultation with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) moved Ferry County back to Phase 2 on April 30. This decision was made after 96 people with direct exposure or secondary exposure associated with an outbreak tested positive. The rapid spread and severity of patients’ symptoms quickly overwhelmed the medical system, resulting in 9 medical transports to surrounding hospitals and additional hospitalizations at Ferry County Health. Sadly, one individual has also passed-away. NETCHD in coordination with DOH will continue to closely monitor and assist Ferry County.
Stevens County has experienced increased COVID-19 case counts over the last several weeks, but recent numbers appear to be reflecting a plateau in new cases. However, hospitalizations have continued to rise in Stevens County. New hospitalizations at the end of April reached record levels for Stevens County residents with 10 individuals requiring admittance. This has caused concern for our medical system.
Pend Oreille County has continued to maintain low case numbers and hospitalizations, with 26 new cases in the last 14 days and and no hospitalizations in the last 7 days.
Throughout all our communities we can all work together to curb disease transmission and thereby reduce hospitalizations. The safest and fastest way to reduce transmission is for people to get vaccinated. Everyone 16 years and older is eligible and appointments are readily available in the tri-county area. To find a vaccination location near you or to make an appointment, visit www.netchd.org or call 509-684-2262, opt. #4.
As of May 1, only 22% of tri county residents 16 years and older are fully vaccinated and only 6% are awaiting a second vaccine dose. Until more people are vaccinated, we must continue to protect ourselves and our communities from COVID disease spread. We can do this by: