Fifth COVID wave continues to roll through county

Grays Harbor County COVID-19 cases continued to climb the week of Aug. 12-18 as the county, like most of the state, navigates the fifth wave of the pandemic.

There were 227 new cases reported during the week. The week prior, there were 164 new cases, and the week before that, 136.

There were also two new deaths reported, bringing the county’s total to 85. Hospitalizations have gone up dramatically, with 19 reported Aug. 12-18, up from seven the previous week; there have been 37 hospitalizations in the county since July 29.

“Harbor Regional Health is seeing a significant increase in the number of COVID positive test. Rates in Grays Harbor are currently approaching 20% positivity rate, a four-fold increase from typical rates,” said Chris Majors, hospital spokesman. “Statewide, almost 25% of ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. This growth has led to increased hospitalizations as well, which means our staff have been overwhelmed and the hospital is reaching maximum capacity more frequently in the last week.”

Because of this, Community Hospital is at times having to hold patients in the ER until a bed can be found there or another facility. Finding beds can be difficult as facilities across the state are experiencing similar increases. This scenario reduces overall ER capacity for all other patients, said Majors.

The fifth wave is also stretching the hospital’s testing resources.

“As the virus spreads, so does the number of people seeking tests. Harbor Regional Health Community Hospital only performs COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients presenting to our ER or anyone who is scheduled for surgery. We no longer offer our drive-up testing service,” said Majors.

“Neither of our outpatient lab testing facilities, Hoquiam or East Campus, do COVID-19 testing. Please note that these two outpatient lab stations are only open Monday through Thursday for all other testing due to staffing shortages. However, at Community Hospital we can provide pre-surgical COVID-19 testing with a written request from your surgical provider.”

If you are symptomatic and do not want to go to the Emergency Department you can get tested by appointment at the Prompt Care Respiratory Clinic at Harbor Regional Health’s East Campus.Specimens gathered from this clinic are PCR tests analyzed by the hospital’s lab.

For other testing options in Grays Harbor contact Grays Harbor County Public Health. Due to an immense increase in testing and shortage in supply, the Curative kiosk located at Grays Harbor County Public Health is unable to do walk-up appointments for COVID-19 tests at this time, said Majors. If you would like to utilize this service, you will need to pre-register for an appointment at

An at-home test may be an option; call Grays Harbor County Public Health at 360-964-1850. For other options in the county visit to see a list of testing providers.