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Counting COVID-19 cases continues, can be tricky to tally

by EMILY THORNTON
Assistant Managing Editor | August 27, 2021 1:05 AM

The count of the number of people in Grant and Adams counties who have COVID-19 continues even though reporting COVID-19 deaths can be difficult.

Regardless, Adams and Grant counties have “high” COVID-19 transmission rates according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as they have had 100 or more new cases per 100,000 residents in the previous seven days.

The Grant County Health District on Tuesday reported 12 COVID-19-related deaths. These periodic announcements are delayed because the district must confirm whether deaths actually were due to COVID-19 and to give family members time to notify others, officials said.

“Unlike deaths due to influenza, deaths due to COVID are not a notifiable condition,” Misty Aguilar, GCHD public information officer, wrote in an email. “We find out about deaths that may be due to COVID from a variety of sources, including WA DOH (state Department of Health), healthcare providers, and friends and family. We verify each death is due to COVID before counting it.”

Aguilar said she was unsure which day the latest death occurred among the 12 announced, but there were five in August, four in July, one in June, one in February and one in October 2020. Seventy-five percent had underlying health conditions, and 83% weren’t vaccinated.

In Grant County, the state Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard showed about 926 cases within the past 14 days as of Wednesday, with the seven-day hospitalization rate at 10 and no deaths.

Samaritan Hospital’s COVID-19 Updates webpage listed 15 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday and none of those were vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the CDC’s Data Tracker reported 527 cases in Grant County in the previous seven days as of Wednesday, which was an 11% increase and equal to about 539 cases per 100,000 people. The CDC also listed 13 new COVID-19 hospital admissions, and four per 100 beds used, which was a 0% change in the same timeframe. The percentage of ICU beds used for COVID-19 patients increased 14% in a week as of Tuesday, with 52 patients.

In Adams County, the DOH’s dashboard listed about 602 cases within the last 14 days as of Wednesday, with the seven-day hospitalization rate at about 10 and no deaths.

The CDC said there were 76 cases in the previous seven days as of Wednesday, which was about a 1% increase and equal to about 380 per 100,000 people. It also said there were two new COVID-19 hospital admissions, and 10 per 100 beds used, which was a 100% increase in the same timeframe. The percentage of ICU beds used for COVID-19 patients was not available.

The aforementioned 12 Grant County COVID-19 deaths were: a Moses Lake man in his 40s, a Quincy woman in her 50s, a Moses Lake man in his 60s, a Beverly man in his 60s, a Mattawa man in his 70s, a Soap Lake man in his 70s, a Quincy man in his 80s, two Moses Lake men in their 80s, a Moses Lake woman in her 80s, a Moses Lake man in his 90s and a Quincy man in his 90s.