Jefferson County is seeing a significant decline in COVID-19 infections after the omicron peak of 1,108 cases in January. We had just 129 cases in March, about a tenth of what we had in January. As of March 31, we’ve recorded 3,195 cases. That means about one in 10 Jefferson County residents has been infected. The actual number is higher, but some people didn’t get tested because they had no symptoms, and others had a positive home test but didn’t report it. With the decline in cases, masks are no longer required in Jefferson County except for medical facilities, congregate care housing, public transit, incarceration centers, etc.
For the most current estimate of infection risk, check the Health Department’s online calculator at https://jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/1429/COVID-19. As of April 1, our risk was “moderate” based on the current rate of new infections. Although the BA2 variant is more contagious, it is less likely to cause serious infections. However, Jefferson Healthcare Hospital is continuing to operate at 100% capacity, so people are urged to get tested if they think they have symptoms so we can minimize any resurgence.
A fourth dose of vaccine is now available for people 50 years and older via pharmacies and medical facilities. More than 400,000 “breakthrough” infections have occurred in vaccinated residents of Washington, but only 18% resulted in symptoms, 2% required hospitalization, and just 0.5% were fatal. According to state data, most vaccinated Washingtonians who died from a breakthrough infection had underlying health conditions, and their average age was 78.