Pacific County COVID rates falling after November spike, but still high

COVID-19 case rates are falling in Pacific County after a November surge, but are still much higher than pre-surge levels.

Pacific County Public Health Director Katie Lindstrom said the current case rate range of 300 to 400 cases per 100,000 population over a span of two weeks is high, but more manageable than the 1,000 or more the county saw starting in November.

Until November, Pacific County had relatively low case rates compared to the state and its neighboring counties.

“We had really good numbers relative to the state up until about the first week in November, when we had a huge spike,” said Lindstrom, who said much of that spike was related to a couple of workplace outbreaks. “We’ve come down from that now, hovering around 300-400 cases. We’ve gotten through that first peak and sort of stabilized a little bit.”

Data released Wednesday showed a rate of nearly 1,000 cases per 100,000 county population Dec. 2 dropped to 355.8 Dec. 9, and 332.7 in the most recent report Wednesday. Lindstrom said that’s still significantly higher than what the county had experienced at any time during the pandemic so far.

“Historically, for us that is still really high,” she said. “Prior to the spike we only hit 75 a couple of times.”

“We are in a significantly better position than we were a couple weeks ago,” said Scott McDougall, Pacific County Emergency Management Director. “Unfortunately, because of the small statistical sample size represented by our population our numbers can rise and fall fairly precipitously. However, in this case we are clearly in a better place by just about every statistical indicator we use.”

But, McDougall said, “We still have a long way to go. The numbers that we are seeing now place us in a very high risk category.”

The number of total cases for the pandemic ticked up by 46 the week of Dec. 10-16 to 530 — 349 confirmed cases and 181 “probable” cases, which are the less accurate rapid tests that have come back positive. The number of active cases, those monitored by public health staff, also rose from 37 to 53 during the week.

However, the number of closed cases rose by 30 during that week to 477. Dec. 2, the number of closed cases was 359.

Hospitalizations rose by one to 17 — that’s for the length of the pandemic. The county death total attributed to the virus remains at three, .5% of positive cases.

Broken down by zip code, the highest number of cases are in the Raymond area, 239, followed by 132 in South Bend, 48 in Long Beach, 23 in Ilwaco, 18 in Seaview, 15 in Naselle, and six in Bay Center. Other zip codes report five or fewer cases for the pandemic.

Public Health continues to urge its citizens to wear masks, physically distance and limit social gatherings. The department releases data three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is available on its Facebook page – which also stays up to date with current testing options –