Grays Harbor COVID numbers continue to rise, free testing continues

Local COVID-19 news this week included several more dates of free testing at Olympic Stadium, new COVID-related deaths in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, and Pacific County schools returning to modified in-person learning.

Grays Harbor County

There were 66 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Grays Harbor County between Jan. 4 and Jan. 6, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 2,465, according to data from the state Department of Health.

Since Dec. 30, three new deaths have been reported, bringing the total to 27 according to Jan. 6 data.

The most current data from the state shows the county’s cases per 100,000 of population over the previous two weeks at 956, with 709 cases during those two weeks. The county has been averaging 203.1 molecular COVID-19 tests daily per 100,000 population over the latest two week period. The percent of molecular tests that returned as positive during the prior week stood at 21% in the latest data.

At Stafford Creek Corrections Center, 743 COVID cases have been reported since mid-December. Those cases are included in Grays Harbor County’s overall numbers. The total number of cases reported as of Thursday was 979, second only in terms of total cases to Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane County. A statement from the state Department of Corrections said Wednesday that “laundry, commissary, and food services are operating with limited crews. Laundry and garbage pickup are both working seven days a week. The facility continues to identify recovered individuals who are able to return to work.”

Grays Harbor County testing

Free community-based testing by the Grays Harbor County Public Health COVID-19 Incident Management Team is occurring at Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam throughout January. Testing will be each Thursday — Jan. 14, 21 and 28 — from 1-6 p.m., and each Friday — Jan. 15, 22 and 29 — from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Testing will also be offered on two weekends: Jan. 9-10, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and Jan. 30-31, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Testing at Grays Harbor Community Hospital can be arranged by calling 360-537-5100.

Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma is seeing 50-60 community members a day at its drive-up testing site, with around a 15% positivity rate. “This is double the rate it has been,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Dietrich. “On one of the busiest days over 90 tests were performed.”

Drive-up testing is available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to noon Friday. Testing is located at 575 E. Main St. Bldg. #2, Elma, WA 98541. Upon arrival to the testing site, patients will call 360-495-5742 to check in, find a designated space to park in and wait for a text or call notifying them that it is time to pull under the tent for testing. Test results are available within 3-5 days, depending on test volumes.

Pacific County

There were 38 total COVID-19 cases reported in Pacific County between Dec. 30 and Jan. 6, along with two new COVID-related deaths, according to data released by Pacific County Public Health Wednesday.

The two deaths brought the total deaths to seven: one reported Dec. 23, one Dec. 30 and the two reported Wednesday. That brings the percentage of deaths per positive test result to 1.1%.

The new cases bumped up the county’s cases per 100,000 population over a two week period to 180.2, up from 157.1 Dec. 30. The test positivity rate, the number of positive test results compared to tests administered, climbed from 16.5% Dec. 30 to 21.6% Wednesday.

The total case count for the county was at 614 Wednesday. Of those, 573 are considered closed, while there were 41 cases considered active and monitored by public health.

Cases are spread throughout the county, with the larger populated zip codes, like Raymond and South Bend, obviously having the higher counts, between the two accounting for 424 of the 614 cases.

Pacific County schools

Some Pacific County schools are reopening to in-person learning after shutting down due to the recent spike in COVID cases.

In mid-December, Raymond Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Holland said the plan was to return to the in-person split schedule learning module Monday, Jan. 25. Holland said Thursday that is still the plan.

South Bend Schools Superintendent Dr. Jon Tienhaara announced Monday that students would be returning to the classroom Monday, Jan. 11.

“The Pacific County Health Department notified the district the county is in the ‘moderate’ activity level as defined by the governor’s K-12 In-person Learning Provisions Tool Kit, which allows in-person learning,” he said. “Schools will again be operating on the AA/BB hybrid student schedule.”

That has two groups of students attending class two times a week, one group Monday and Tuesday, the other Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday an online learning day. Masks are required for students and staff and all other mandated health measures will be followed.

Willapa Valley schools reopened Jan. 6, returning to the learning model students were in before schools were shut down Nov. 11.

Each district and school regularly keeps parents and students informed as to return dates and schedules, and to the measures required to keep kids safe and in class. They also regularly update their Facebook pages. A good one-stop kind of source for information on the districts in the county, with links to their websites, can be accessed at