Cowlitz County leads state in current COVID death rate

LONGVIEW — Cowlitz County’s COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are down following an spike last month, but the county currently has the highest seven-day death rate and fourth-highest hospitalization rate in the state.

In mid-December, the county’s hospitalization rate peaked at 25.3 per 100,000 people, the highest rate since last February.

Hospitalizations appear to be leveling out in the state and Cowlitz County, but the county’s rate of 13.6 per 100,000 is more than double the state average of 5.6 per 100,000.

Cowlitz County’s case rate is more on-par with the state, with 66 new cases per 100,000 recorded from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, compared to about 71 per 100,000 statewide.

In the state and county, case and hospitalization rates were highest among residents 65 and older. However, reported cases represent a fraction of total cases, as most at-home test results are not communicated to the state, according to the Department of Health.

The state and county also saw a corresponding increase in deaths following the uptick in cases and hospitalizations, with the county seeing a larger jump than the state.

Cowlitz County’s seven-day death rate peaked at 6.3 per 100,000, or seven deaths of residents who tested positive the week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 6. The state data displays the rate based on the test date, not the death date.

The county’s death rate has decreased to 2.7 per 100,000, or three deaths from those testing positive from Dec. 3 to Dec. 9. That’s currently the highest seven-day death rate in the state, closely followed by Clallam County at 2.6 per 100,000, or two deaths.

Statewide, the death rate in the same time period peaked at 1.1 per 100,000, or 84 deaths from residents testing positive the week of Nov. 25 to Dec. 1. The rate has dropped to 0.5 per 100,000.

According to cumulative counts, 15 Cowlitz County residents reportedly died of COVID-19 in December, but that number may change, as the state considers the most recent 32 days incomplete.

That’s the largest number recorded for one month since July, which also saw 15 deaths following a jump in cases and hospitalizations.

Nearly half of the 113 COVID-19 deaths among Cowlitz County residents recorded so far for 2022 happened in January and February, according to the Department of Health.

Of the county’s 403 total confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths, the 257 recorded in 2021 make up about 64%.

Washington has recorded 15,225 total COVID-19 deaths.

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