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COVID-19 activity ticks up, Cowlitz County may revert to Phase 2

COVID-19 activity ticks up, Cowlitz County may revert to Phase 2

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Coronavirus CDC

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The latest Cowlitz County Department of Heath report projects that the county will drop back to Phase 2 when the counties are re-evaluated, as it reported 70 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and one death.

The entire state entered Phase 3 March 22, but to stay there the county must have a new case rate of less than 200 new cases per 100,000 people and fewer than five new hospitalizations per 100,000 people over the past seven days. Each county will be evaluated April 12, and any changes in phase would take effect that Friday.

“We do not have the exact methods that the state DOH will use to calculate metrics for phase determination. However, based on our best estimates (and) if current trends continue … we will revert to Phase 2 next week,” the health department report said, due to the increasing case incidence rate.

County health department urges caution over spring break amid rising COVID-19 cases

According to the weekly Cowlitz County Department of Health report, cases are increasing while hospitalizations and deaths are holding steady. The county saw an average of 17 new confirmed and probable cases per day from specimens collected March 17-23, “sharply increasing” since mid-March, the report said.

From March 10-23, the county saw 152 new cases per 100,000 people, while from March 3-16 the rate was 140 new cases per 100,000 people.

Local hospitalization rates are trending down, with an average of 3.7 people per 100,000 admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 from March 8-14. From March 1-7, the average was 6.4 people per 100,000 people.

On Friday, the county said a woman in her 90s who was not hospitalized and was connected to a long-term care facility died of COVID-19. There have been 63 total deaths in the county, according to the local health department.

More schools announce in-person timeline, returning students to class by end of April

Test positivity also is decreasing, according to the report. From March 9-15, 6.7% of tests in the county have been positive. From March 2-8 the test positivity rate was 10.9%.

As for cases in schools, Longview, Castle Rock and Kelso schools all use COVID-19 school case dashboards to report cases in schools. Other local districts do not publicly report cases in schools. Kelso only reports cases that are confirmed to be transmitted in schools and only reported one such case in November.

Castle Rock reported two new student COVID-19 cases in schools on March 29: One high school student and one middle school student. Neither case was determined to have been caused by exposure at the school.

Longview reported eight new cases since March 23, four staff members and four students. None of the cases were caused by exposure at school, according to contract tracing.

On March 26, a Monticello staff member and a R.A. Long student tested positive, followed by another R.A. Long student and a Mint Valley staff member March 27. On March 28, an operations staff member and a Mark Morris student tested positive, and March 31 an Olympic Elementary student testing positive. A Mt. Solo staff member tested positive April 1.

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