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Slight dip in Clark County COVID-19 cases no reason to let down your guard, health official says

Deputy Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager said while he's glad to see a decrease in new cases, the county's case numbers are "still really high."

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The coronavirus has made Clark County a hotspot. The rate of new cases was growing for weeks since August and has been soaring the past two months.

But finally, there’s a slight break in the deadly trend.

“I do thinks it’s real. I still think we need to be cautious, but we’re heading right now in the right direction,” Deputy Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager said.

The number of coronavirus cases dropped from a high of more than 450 new cases per 100,000 residents in mid-December to nearly 434 per 100,000 on Dec. 22, down to 386 cases per 100,000 as of this week. 

Dr. Krager said he's glad to see the drop but remains very concerned.

“While we’ve seen a slight decrease in cases, case numbers are still really high. There are infections everywhere: workplaces, long-term care facilities, gatherings that people are having, we are finding cases,” said Krager.

Vaccines are arriving, first for the most at-risk, but large-scale vaccinations for the general public are still a ways away.

“Different health care providers have received more vaccines over the past couple of weeks. The initial allotment was rather small the first week,” the deputy health officer said. 

As of Wednesday, Washington state had received more than 356,000 doses of vaccine, but less than 60,000 have been administered. That's just 18.7% so far.

Krager says mass vaccinations will require help from the federal government to be successful.

“We’re working towards it. I think we will see those larger numbers of people getting vaccinated soon as we kind of build up some infrastructure,” said Krager.

In the meantime, it's up to the community to help each other stay healthy.

“Masking, avoiding crowds, avoiding indoors with people outside your household, that is really a key; it’s as important as it was at Thanksgiving, as it was for Christmas, as it is for New Year’s.”

On Wednesday, Clark County reported 69 new cases and two more deaths due to COVID-19. The death toll in the county is now up to 139.

Click here to see the latest COVID-19 information from Clark County Public Health.

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