Rates of new COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated continue to rise steeply in Island County while new deaths from the virus among county residents were reported for the first time since April, according to county statistics.
An estimated one in every 123 unvaccinated residents got a confirmed case of COVID-19 during a one-week period ending Aug. 19, the county’s COVID response manger reported.
Dr. Howard Leibrand, the county’s public health officer, said that’s an astonishing rate.
“It’s only going to get higher than that,” he said. “It’s likely that the majority of people who are not vaccinated will get it.”
About 95% of the new cases are in people who are unvaccinated. Leibrand said statistics show that unvaccinated people are 25 times more likely to die from COVID-19. The King County health officer reported a few days ago that, when adjusted for age, unvaccinated people in that county are 67 more times likely to die from the virus.
The majority of new infections are from the delta variant, according to state statistics. Leibrand said it is between six and 10 times more contagious than the original COVID-19.
Island County reported 200 new confirmed cases in a week ending Aug. 13 and three additional COVID-19 deaths, totalling 34 during the pandemic as a whole.
WhidbeyHealth Medical Center reports that COVID-positive inpatients ranged from 4% to 20% of inpatients in August. A large percentage of Emergency Department visits are for people with acute upper respiratory ailments.
The ER does between 30-50 swab tests daily. About 10% are positive for COVID.
But there is also good news on the pandemic front. Leibrand pointed out that the infection rate in Island County is lower than neighboring Skagit and Snohomish counties, though it’s higher than San Juan County.
Island County reports that more than 600 residents got their first dose during the week ending Aug 13. In comparison, about 1,500 people got their first dose during the entire month of July.
According to the state, 56 percent of Island County residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 59 percent of residents in the state have. But Don Mason, the county’s COVID response manager, said that the county’s numbers don’t include Navy personnel, who may account for another 10% of the county’s population.
As a result, Island County may be ahead of the curve.