Teen COVID cases see severe increase

The Omicron variant is making its way through the county.

The COVID-19 case rate has soared among Island County adolescents as the Omicron variant makes its way through the county, according to the latest COVID response update.

County health officials forecast that spikes caused by the Omicron variant, which was discovered in the county before Christmas, will shatter county case records in the coming weeks.

The 14-day case rate for 12- to 19-year-olds surged to 590 per 100,000 during the two-week period ending Dec. 29, up from just 236 per 100,000 during the previous reporting period. Prior to that, the case rate hadn’t surpassed 200 for several weeks.

The overall case rate in Island County was 241 per 100,000 for the two-week period ending Dec. 29. For several weeks beforehand, the case rate hovered between 150 and 200 per 100,000 and was trending slightly downward in late November and early December.

The county also reported two more COVID-related deaths in the past two weeks.

Though milder than previous iterations of COVID, the Omicron variant is highly communicable. County health officials expect local case rates to surpass the all-time highs set during last summer’s surge of the Delta variant.

The report also showed that the county’s vaccination rate continues to inch upward. According to the state, 57.5% of Island County residents are fully vaccinated. This data does not include almost 9,000 people who have been fully vaccinated at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.