The COVID-19 vaccine site at the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds will only administer second doses this week to those who got their first doses there three weeks ago, according to the county health department.
First-dose appointments will not be available at the site this week. Since first opening last month, Safeway pharmacists have given nearly 3,390 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to eligible people, the Cowlitz County Department of Health and Human Services stated in a press release Monday.
“Those who received their first dose at the vaccination site Feb. 24 or 25 were given a second-dose appointment for March 17 or 18,” the release states. “They should return at the same time and day of the week as their first-dose appointment.”
People with second-dose appointments at the fairgrounds site this week will be asked to provide the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card they received at their first appointment. People also will be asked to complete an immunization consent form.
Those who received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines elsewhere should work with their provider to schedule their second-dose appointment, according to the health department.
This week, Washington will receive 302,690 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, according to the state Department of Health. The state will not receive additional Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. The allocation falls short of the 410,000 doses providers requested, Acting Assistant Secretary of Health Michele Roberts said Thursday.
COVID-19 reporting changes
Cowlitz County recorded 25 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, bringing its total to 4,389.
A county health department change in how the two-week COVID-19 rate per 100,000 is calculated added 31 new cases to the reported cases from Feb. 17 through March 2.
The new two-week case rate is 177 cases per 100,000 people, up from 146 cases in the same time frame reported last week. The reporting changes were made to align the local report with the state Department of Health’s methodology, according to the county health department.
There are three changes. First, case counts now include cases identified from both molecular and antigen tests, meaning cases that are confirmed and that are probable.
There are two types of COVID-19 tests, and originally the state department only reported COVID-19 cases confirmed with a molecular test, calling them “confirmed cases”. In mid-December, the state also started to count cases identified only with an antigen test, meaning there is evidence that the person had COVID-19 because there are COVID-19 antigen in the body.
The state called these antigen-positive cases “probable cases.” Cowlitz County only reported confirmed cases in its figures up until this point because there was limited local antigen testing available, according to the report.
As antigen testing increased locally, the local health department decided to include those cases in the report. The county saw an average of 14 new confirmed and probable cases per day from Feb. 17 to March 2.
Another change was that the reporting lag from the state grew. Cowlitz County health used a lag time of six days, but now uses the state DOH’s lag time is about one and a half weeks. That means when rates are decreasing, as they are right now, less-recent rates will be higher than more-recent rates.
The final change in reporting was that the denominator, which is used to calculate the case rate per 100,000 people, is now slightly smaller. The county had been using a population count from 2020, while the state used population data from 2019. By following the state’s smaller population count, the rate will appear higher.
School data report
Monday’s school data report had a test positivity rate of 8.4% from Feb. 16-22, which is a drop from the 12.7% rate from Feb. 9-15.
Hospitalization rates also are down, with three COVID-19 hospital admissions in the county from Feb. 15-21.
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 has only reported one such case in November.