In the last two weeks, 1% of the total Cowlitz County population tested positive for COVID-19, according to the county health department.

From Aug. 4 to Aug. 17, the most recent complete data, the county recorded 1,150 new cases, according to the state Department of Health.

“Weekly case counts have seen an elevenfold increase since early July. Statewide case counts increased eightfold over the same time period and are close to their winter peak,” the county’s most recent data report states. “Case counts may continue to increase or have begun to level off both statewide and in Cowlitz County.”

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Cowlitz County Thursday recorded 38 new confirmed cases and two new COVID-19 deaths, with 119 total. The county has recorded 8,264 confirmed and 938 probable cases.

As of Thursday morning, PeaceHealth St. John had 56 COVID-19 patients, up from 44 the previous day.

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The county recorded the highest seven-day per capita hospitalization rate in the state Thursday, with 42.5 COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people. The state average was 11.5 per 100,000.

The more contagious delta variant likely became the dominant COVID-19 strain in Cowlitz County in late June, according to the county health department’s report.

COVID-19 cases have risen in all age groups since July. Children 17 and younger saw the highest proportional increase, with a fivefold change from late June to early August, according to the report.

Fewer than 10 Cowlitz County children have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, the report states. The numbers are too small to assess trends over time. Nationwide data shows hospitalization rates among children increasing since early July.

An average of five county residents per day were hospitalized for COVID-19 the week of Aug. 18.

“New COVID-19 hospitalizations in Cowlitz County have spiked dramatically since early July and continue to increase,” the report states.

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The majority of COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated residents, according to the report.

Since mid-January, 7% of cases and 8% of hospitalizations were in fully vaccinated Cowlitz County residents 12 and older, according to the county. These 297 breakthrough cases represent 0.59% of the county residents fully vaccinated as of Monday.

Since late June, fully vaccinated residents were 81% to 84% less likely to get COVID-19 than those unvaccinated, according to the report.

The health department found fewer than 10 Cowlitz County adults hospitalized between June 27 and Aug. 14 were partially or fully vaccinated. None of the children who tested positive during that period were hospitalized for COVID-19.

A county report released in July found for Southwest Washington residents, being partially vaccinated reduces the risk of hospitalization by 75% and being fully vaccinated reduces the risk by 90%.

Navigating the pandemic
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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