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September 29, 2021

COVID-19 Updates from Skagit County

Local COVID-19 Case and Hospital Data
Skagit has a total of 9,353 cases; an increase of 445 new cases since last Wednesday; Hospitalizations are at 545 total (increased by 28 since Wednesday), and 97 deaths (sadly, increasing by 4).

State and local rates continue to be extremely high; we have not seen a leveling off yet. Skagit currently has a case rate of 643.2 100k over the last 14 days—the highest we’ve seen to date—and a hospitalization rate of 16.1 COVID patients per 100k over the last seven days.
A total of 169,375 doses have been administered in Skagit County. We are now at 72.0% partially vaccinated amongst our population 12 years and older.

Statewide Situational Report & Disease Prevalence
The latest COVID-19 modeling and surveillance situation report from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shows the majority of counties now have case rates above 500 per 100,000. Washington is likely to see continued high levels of cases and hospital admissions, with increasing deaths. Some report findings include:

  • COVID-19 prevalence is at a new high. The current best estimate of prevalence is 0.94%, or about 1 in every 106 Washingtonians. The previous reported high was 0.64% in August 2021, or about 1 in every 156 Washingtonians. About 39% of the population remains susceptible to COVID-19 infection.
  • Transmission continues to increase, but at a slower rate. On Sep. 2, the best estimate of the effective reproductive number (Re, which tells us how many new people each COVID-19 case will infect) was 1.14. On Aug. 6, this estimate was 1.49. A reproductive number above one means that cases will continue to increase. To see cases decline, the reproductive number needs to stay well below 1.0 for a substantial amount of time.
  • COVID-19 deaths are increasing. The seven-day rolling average of deaths has increased rapidly, from 5-10 deaths per day in July to 27 per day by the end of August.
  • Hospital admissions and occupancy for COVID-19 are still very high. After a peak of 190 daily admissions (seven-day rolling average) at the end of August, the current average has declined only slightly to 186. Both admissions and occupancy remain at very high levels. Although some recent declines are apparent as of September 18, current occupancy levels still far exceed those observed during the previous highs of winter 2020.
  • Hospital projections indicate high levels of admissions and occupancy for COVID-19 are likely to persist through the fall. The projections pose two scenarios based on increasing rates of transmission, one with a lower or “modest” rate, and another with a higher or “moderate” rate. Under these scenarios, hospital admissions by the end of December could decrease, or they could increase to between 141 and 240 admissions daily. The number of beds occupied through December could decrease, or they could increase to between 1100 and 2000 beds per day.

Changes to Fairgrounds Operations
The Skagit County Fairgrounds Testing and Vaccination Site will be expanding its hours of operation next week to better serve the community and reduce wait times. Beginning on Monday October 4, the new operating hours will be from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The site will no longer operate on Wednesdays. Please expect long wait times. 

Vaccination services continue to be offered to all people 12 years and older. People can access a first or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or a single-dose of Johnson & Johnson, when supplies are available. Third doses of Pfizer and Moderna are also available to certain immunocompromised individuals. Please speak with your healthcare provider about whether an additional dose is appropriate for you.

Pfizer Boosters at the Skagit Fairgrounds
Pfizer booster doses are available—by appointment only—for eligible individuals who received Pfizer for their first and second dose. If you received your second dose of Pfizer in March 2021 or earlier, you may now be eligible for a booster dose if you meet the criteria below. Those eligible for a Pfizer booster dose include:

At this time, there are no available appointments through the Skagit County Fairgrounds. Please check back on Monday, October 4th for newly added appointments, or call the COVID Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, press #.

When appointments are available through the Fairgrounds, go to: https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/
Search for "Skagit County Public Health" under Name of Location. Please know that appointments are extremely limited at this time. If you do not see any appointment dates listed, try back in a day or two. You can also contact local pharmacies to see if appointments are available at other locations.

For more info about the CDC guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html.

COVID-19 Testing

Antigen testing at the Skagit Fairgrounds is now limited to individuals who live, work, or go to school in Skagit County. Those coming for testing must be 5 years or older and must (a) be currently symptomatic or (b) have had recent exposure to COVID-19.

Those seeking testing or vaccination, and who meet the above criteria, are asked to come to the South Gate Entrance at 501 Taylor Street in Mount Vernon. Services are free. Please expect long wait times.

For a list of other testing providers in Skagit County, go to: www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus.

Fully Vaccinated Deadline

To be fully vaccinated by October 18th based on the Governor’s vaccination requirements, an individual would need to access a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine no later than Monday, October 4th. At this time, this is the only vaccine brand available to those who are unvaccinated and who need to be fully vaccinated by the Governor’s deadline.

To find a vaccine provider near you, to go: https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/. If coming to the Skagit Fairgrounds clinic, please expect long wait times. It is recommended that people do not wait until the last minute to get their shot, as many vaccine providers have limited capacity at this time.