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Spring breaks continue as COVID cases climb in Clark County

With Southwest Washington students out of school this week, health officials are urging people to continue safety measures to ward off another coronavirus surge.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — With more sunshine the day before Easter, people were out enjoying it on the Columbia River and along the Vancouver waterfront. 

Washington Governor Jay Inslee just visited the area Friday and had this to say about where things stand with the pandemic: “We have tremendous progress going on here in Clark County. I do want to say we have tremendous concerns though as well; we are seeing an increase in infections in terms of numbers of infections.”

On one hand, vaccinations are increasing and will be available to all Washingtonians 16 and older starting in mid-April. Schools are reopening with hybrid learning, something that's been a long time coming.

But new coronavirus cases are increasing after dropping and leveling off over the past couple months. So there are different messages about the pandemic to understand.

Despite dire warnings of a fourth surge in parts of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this week that people who are fully vaccinated can travel in the United States without getting tested for COVID or going into quarantine. People should still wear a mask, social distance and avoid crowds.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy declining in Washington, according to census data

Over at the Salmon Creek softball diamond, a group of 11 and 12-year-old girls were all masked up for practice Saturday. Their coach, Melanie Heaton, is also the Salmon Creek Little League girls softball commissioner. 

“It's absolutely amazing, the girls have responded really well to keeping their masks on. I'm just happy to be able to get out and play in spring … it's been too long since we've been able to do this,” said Heaton.

Just off the field, Liz Burke loves being there and seeing daughter Presley play ball.

“Oh my gosh it feels amazing just to be outside and watching them get some exercise and do some things and interact with other friends,” said Burke.

Outside is better, according to Clark County Public Health officials.
Clark County recorded 74 new coronavirus cases Friday, which is double the week’s daily average and the highest one-day total since late January.

This spring break, public health officials urge people to avoid large gatherings, and gather outdoors if possible. When indoors, officials say to keep gatherings with people from outside your household to 10 people or fewer. Remember to wash hands, wear masks and watch your social distance.

RELATED: Colleges in Oregon, SW Washington plan to resume in-person classes in the fall

“I try to follow the rules,” said Burke. “I don't necessarily agree with all of them but I’m doing my part because I want to be open just like everybody else.”