With COVID-19 cases staying low in the Yakima Valley and statewide, the Yakima Health District is scaling back COVID statistics and reports.
The health district has stopped providing weekly COVID data updates. Weekly data updates and monthly trend reports will switch to quarterly reports next year.
This change comes after months of declining weekly COVID cases, hospitalizations and infection rates. COVID-19 case counts statewide generally have been dropping, though there was a small uptick the third week of November, according to the Washington State Department of Health data dashboard.
At the state level, the Washington COVID-19 response website has been decommissioned. Information from the website has been moved to the DOH’s COVID-19 landing page. There, Washington residents will still be able to access information regarding COVID best practices, testing and vaccination information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID community level for Yakima County is low.
RSV and flu a concern
While COVID seems to be less of an issue, climbing RSV and flu cases in Yakima County and the state are keeping many hospitals near, at, or over capacity.
State health officials on Thursday reported over 1,200 new flu cases from Nov. 13-19, which was more than double the case count of previous weeks, the Associated Press reported. Seven people in the state have died so far this season from the flu, including one child, according to health officials.
Stephanie Badillo-Sanchez, a spokesperson for the Yakima Health District, said residents should consider wearing masks again and avoid large groups during the winter season. People who feel sick should stay home, she added.
Badillo-Sanchez said the health district is working with schools in the county to organize flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinics like the one they hosted in mid-October.
In the meantime, the health district has updated its website with the latest information on flu shot availability in the county.
The health district has scheduled two COVID-19 vaccine clinics in December.
• The first will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the Yakima Valley Museum at 2105 Tieton Drive in Yakima.
• The second will happen between 1 and 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, at Radio KDNA at 121 Sunnyside Ave. in Granger.
The health department recommends visiting www.YakimaVaccines.org or www.YakimaVacunas.org for vaccine locations and availability.
For those who think they may have COVID-19, the Yakima Community testing site is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 1211 N. 16th Ave. in Yakima. The site, which is near the movie theater on 16th Avenue near U.S. Highway 12, offers free COVID-19 testing to all individuals 3 months or older.
Washington state offers free rapid tests at its sayyescovidhomestest.org website.