October 25, 2021
Today, Skagit County’s Health Officer Dr. Howard Leibrand issued the following statement:
Our COVID-19 case rates are increasing once again. The WA DOH data dashboard shows our 14-day rate still hovering in the range of 600 per 100,000 population. At present, Skagit is at 552.7 per 100k over the last 14 days, with a hospitalization rate of 12.3 COVID patients per 100k over the last seven days.
Though cases may be declining in other parts of our state, we are not seeing a sustained decrease in cases here in Skagit. To put it mildly, this is not what Public Health—or our exhausted healthcare workers—have been hoping for.
Reported daily case counts are still extremely high. Local data shows that we have had an average of 59 new test positive cases per day reported to Public Health over the past 14 days, from October 8 through October 21.
It’s very simple: to recover from this most recent wave and prevent needless deaths, people need to get vaccinated as soon as possible. And with Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosters now available, we are encouraging each and every person to get their booster when eligible to do so.
Unfortunately, we know that there are folks in our community who are still reluctant to get vaccinated. Though our county’s population is 58.2 percent fully vaccinated now, this means that there is still nearly 40 percent of our residents, including children 11 and younger who aren’t yet eligible, who do not have protection against the virus.
Getting vaccinated not only protects you individually, but it slows spread and protects other vulnerable individuals. For our children’s sake—we are pleading with people to get vaccinated today.
Skagitonians need to continue to be stringent about masking up and limiting social gatherings, especially with the holidays coming up. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have clearly seen spikes in cases after holidays. We cannot afford a spike right now with how high our case and hospitalization rates are at this time.
If you are already vaccinated, please continue to use discretion. If gathering with family or friends who are unvaccinated, use extra precaution—or do not gather at all. Avoid gathering indoors and in poorly ventilated areas. Wear a mask when gathering with folks who are considered higher risk.
If unvaccinated, gathering with others this holiday season is extremely risky. Please know that you are taking a very poor gamble, and putting yours, and your loved ones, health and safety on the line. From state data, we know that unvaccinated 12-64 year-olds are 5-6 times more likely to get COVID-19 compared to those who are fully vaccinated, and 19 times more likely to end up in the hospital with serious health complications. The facts are clear.
Lastly, no one experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms should be attending any group events, going to in-person work, or in-person school. People with symptoms need to stay home until they can get tested and recover from symptoms. If we do not practice these measures, COVID-19 will continue to spread at alarming rates in our community—causing needless long-term illness, death, and disruption to all our daily lives.
We can still have a wonderful holiday season, and we can always turn around our case trends. Please do everything that you can to help your community in this fight.
Dr. Leibrand has served as Skagit’s Health Officer since 1989.
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