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Reasons to celebrate for those vaccinated, reasons to worry if you’re not.

If you’re vaccinated against COVID-19, you have more to celebrate! If you’re not vaccinated, you have more to worry about.

Let’s start with the good news:

  • For the first time in more than a year, we are not reporting any outbreaks at care facilities, businesses or hospitals.
  • This week, our 14-day case rate dropped below 100 for the first time since October.
  • Our 7-day average of daily cases fell to 37 this week.

These numbers and their continuing decline are reasons for hope as we continue the fight against COVID-19.  But we still have a way to go and a few areas of concern:

  • The highly contagious Delta variant arrived in Pierce County.
  • Washington Department of Health reports hospitalization rates for the unvaccinated are 21times higher in ages 45-64 and 15 times higher in ages 65 and older compared to vaccinated people.
  • Vaccinations rates are slowing.

More data showing vaccines work.

In previous blog posts, we’ve reported our data shows vaccines are working. And we’ve reported the dangers facing the unvaccinated. This week’s data is proof that COVID-19 vaccines are effective.

Starting in May of last year, we began identifying facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks. We defined outbreaks for each facility as 10 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases at:

  • Long term care facilities with 30 or more beds.
  • Hospitals with 60 or more employees.
  • Businesses with 60 or more employees.

Since last May, outbreaks have occurred in at least 1 category every week. And usually, we reported outbreaks in all 3.

Thanks to vaccines, those outbreaks have disappeared. For the past 2 weeks, we’ve had no outbreaks in our named businesses, care facilities and hospitals for the first time in more than a year. The outcome is not surprising, as we’d seen these outbreak numbers falling since vaccines became available.

Case rates and case numbers continue to fall.

As our percentage of vaccinated Pierce County residents climbs, our COVID-19 14-day case rates continue to fall. As of this week, 61.6% of Pierce County residents ages 16 or older have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine. 

This week, our case rate fell below 100—the lowest it’s been since October 2020. We’re now at 84.1 cases per 100,000, an 85% drop since early January.

And judging by our daily case counts, those numbers will continue to fall. Our 14-day average case counts reached a peak of more than 300 per day in December. After declines with a few ups and downs through the early months of the year, they’ve declined steadily since early-May. They fell into double digits in early June and now stand at 45 per day. On June 18, we confirmed only 18 cases, the lowest number in more than a year.

Cause for concern.

The good news comes with concerns that the downward trends could flatten or reverse.  

Vaccinations are slowing in Pierce County and elsewhere. Almost 20,000 doses were delivered to Pierce County residents last week, but that number is down from previous weeks. And our demographic information shows vaccination rates remain low in younger age groups–only 40.9% in ages 18-29.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 recently arrived in Pierce County. While the number of confirmed cases is small, the variant is highly contagious and CDC identifies it as a variant of concern.   

Figures from the state Department of Health (DOH) this week should also worry unvaccinated people. DOH reported vaccination is clearly protecting people from severe COVID-19 illness, as demonstrated by the very different hospital admission trends seen in unvaccinated populations. The estimated hospital admission rate for unvaccinated people is 21 times higher than for vaccinated people in ages 45-64 and 15 times higher in unvaccinated people compared to vaccinated people in ages 65 and older.

Now’s the time to get vaccinated.

Vaccines are safe and the vaccine monitoring system is working. The extremely small number of breakthrough cases proves the vaccines are effective. And it’s never been easier to get vaccinated.

If that’s not enough, how about another reason? Washington residents who have at least one dose of vaccine are entered in the state’s Shot of a Lifetime drawings. You could win cash prizes of $250,000 or $1 million, higher education financial assistance, game systems and smart speakers, and event and flight tickets.

If you haven’t done so yet,  find your vaccine at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture.

You can walk-up or drive-thru at clinics around Pierce County. If you work during the day, some offer evening and weekend hours.

If you need help finding vaccine, sign up online for our COVID-19 Vaccine Help List. Or just call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week!

We can help anyone 12 years or older find:

Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • First and second doses.
  • Appointments at healthcare facilities, pharmacies and vaccine events.
  • Walk-up and drive-thru events.
  • Help with transportation to appointments and events.
  • Mobility assistance and language support at appointments and events.
  • In-home vaccine if you can’t easily leave home.

Learn more at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture

 Casue for celebration photo 2