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Health district announces more COVID-19 deaths

by EMILY THORNTON
Assistant Managing Editor | December 2, 2021 1:03 AM

Twenty-seven residents died from COVID-19 in October and November, bringing Grant County’s total to 212 and one pending, the Grant County Health District announced Wednesday.

Ten of the 27 were fully vaccinated, while 16 were unvaccinated and one was partially vaccinated, the GCHD stated. Twenty-four of the 27 had underlying medical conditions and three had no underlying conditions.

Those with an underlying health condition are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, the GCHD stated, and vaccines and preventative measures help prevent the illness.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker, 64% of Grant County residents 12 or older were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. Additionally, community transmission dropped to “substantial,” rather than “high,” the latter of which the county has had for many months. The CDC defines “substantial rate” as having 50-99 cases per 100,000 people or 8-9% positive Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests within the previous seven days (whichever is higher), while high means 100 or more cases per 100,000 people or 10% or more positive NAATs (whichever is higher) in the previous week.

There were 88 COVID-19 cases in Grant County as of Tuesday within the previous week, which was about a 40% drop, according to the CDC.

The case rate per 100,000 people was about 90 in Adams County. It had 18 cases in the same timeframe listed above. So it also has a substantial community transmission rate rather than high. The positivity percentage was not listed, but about 71% of people age 12 or older were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Grant County residents who died in October and November included: a Quincy woman in her 30s, a Moses Lake man in his 50s, a Mattawa man in his 50s, a Soap Lake man in his 50s, a Moses Lake woman in her 50s, a Quincy man in his 50s, an Ephrata man in his 60s, a Moses Lake man in his 60s, a Warden woman in her 60s, a Grand Coulee man in his 70s, a Moses Lake man in his 70s, an Ephrata man in his 70s, six Moses Lake women in their 70s, an Ephrata man in his 70s, a Quincy man in his 70s, five Moses Lake men in their 80s, and two Moses Lake men in their 90s.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) says a COVID-19 death is one occurring among those with a positive COVID-19 test and the death certificate must include COVID-19 or COVID-19-like terms, such as respiratory distress, pneumonia, respiratory failure, hypoxia, viral illness, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, with no other strain specified) as a cause or contributing factor to the death, the GCHD said in the release. It does not include those who die in a homicide, suicide, or accident, with the exception of accidental death, which explicitly list COVID-19 on the death certificate.

The GCHD delays announcing COVID-19 deaths to give families time to notify loved ones, the release stated, and verify COVID-19 as the cause of death.

(Editor's note: This story has been updated.)

Emily Thornton can be reached via email at ethornton@columbiabasinherald.com.

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