Benton-Franklin Health District Gives Update On COVID -19 Response

COVID-19 case rates are on the decline in Benton and Franklin counties. Over two weeks, in Benton county there were 737 cases per 100,000, and Franklin County had 935.

This is the first time since mid-August that both counties have been below 1000 cases per 100,000 over 14 days.

BFHD Health Officer Dr. Amy Person attributes that decrease in cases to people taking preventative health measures like masking up, getting vaccinated, and staying home when they're sick.

Dr. Person hopes this will also lead to decreases in hospitalizations, but adds even though cases are decreasing they are still considered high.

"So our improvement is not a time to stop what works but to continue and to be vigilant so that we can reach that point where COVID is not a concern in our community," said Dr. Person.

As for boosters, Dr. Person says someone is eligible if they are 65 or older or if they are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19

"So that would include frontline workers in healthcare first responders and teachers they're also available for anyone who is at high risk of serious illness for COVID-19," said Person.

To get the booster you will have had to receive your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine six or more months ago.

"Providers and pharmacies should only be offering booster doses for the Pfizer vaccine," said Person.

Dr. Person says 46.4 percent of the total population in our counties are fully vaccinated--representing 56 percent of our population who is eligible for vaccination.

Additionally, the CBC-West test site processed over 9,600 tests over the last 14 days and the positivity rate is at 16 percent.

If you're thinking of getting a COVID vaccine, booster, or flu shot, you can get them together.

"COVID vaccines can be given at the same time as flu vaccines or any other childhood or recommended vaccine," said Person.

Finally, if you get your COVID shot and are wondering what counts as proof of vaccination, a few options would be your vaccination card, medical record printout, or a printout from the Washington state immunization information system.

Dr. Person adds that when we relax on following health guidelines it increases disease activity. She reminds us to stay vigilant in taking health precautions, especially with holidays on the horizon.