COVID-19 case rates in North Central Washington broke all-time pandemic records in late August as some counties saw rates top 1,000 per 100,000 for the first time.
Chelan County’s 14-day COVID rate climbed to 1,075.8 new cases per 100,000 on Sept. 1, the highest case rate recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Chelan-Douglas Health District data.
In Douglas County, the 14-day case rate for Sept. 1 was 1,090.3, also a new record, according to health district data.
The highest case rate in North Central Washington is in Grant County where the 14-day rate reached 1,117.4 per 100,000, according to the Grant County Health District.
Okanogan reported 87 new COVID-19 cases on Aug. 31, the highest count for a single day, according to Okanogan County Public Health. On Sept. 1, its COVID-19 case rate reached 1,069 per 100,000.
The state Department of Health’s COVID-19 case rate are lower than data obtained from local health districts because it can take up to eight days for the state to receive about 90% of confirmed cases.
The state considers the most recent eight days in its COVID-19 dashboard to be incomplete for this reason.
At Central Washington Hospital, 43 patients were hospitalized as of Sept. 3, only one off the all-time highest hospitalization count set in December 2020, according to data collected by The Wenatchee World.
Ten of the 43 were in the intensive care unit, according to the Confluence Health COVID-19 webpage.
On Sept. 2 when the hospital had 40 COVID-19 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, 10 of the 40 were fully vaccinated, according to Andrew Canning, Confluence Health spokesperson.
“Our overall hospital census has been managed somewhat by our decision to curtail elective procedures requiring a hospital bed but staffing remains a limiting factor,” Canning said in an email. “We remain on crisis levels of staffing — meaning shifts are covered on a case-by-case basis, and we do not always know who will be available until they call in for a shift.”
Canning also said that staff who pick up extra shifts will be paid twice their normal pay starting Sept. 6. Confluence Health has used overtime throughout the pandemic, but this is the first time it is offering double pay, he said.