BFHD: Counties top 350 COVID deaths; over 90% of recent cases are Delta variant

KENNEWICK, Wash. — As the COVID-19 Delta variant leads a resurgence of cases in Benton and Franklin Counties, the bi-county region has surpassed 350 deaths attributed to the deadly virus.

According to the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD), three more people from the area died from COVID-19 this week:  Three men ranging from their 70s to 90s. These additions brought Benton County’s death toll to 234 community members and Franklin County’s to 118 community members lost. Overall, the bi-county region stands at 352 community members lost.

Meanwhile, coronavirus case rates are the highest since early January of 2021. For reference, case rates did not reach this level for the first time until November 2020. This can largely be connected to the spread of a more contagious and deadly version of coronavirus: The Delta variant.

BFHD officials confirmed to KAPP-KVEW that their most recent sequencing reports suggest more than 90% of recent COVID-19 cases in Benton and Franklin Counties are attributed to the Delta variant.

RELATED: COVID-19 case rates, positivity rates spike amongst unvaccinated citizens

The bi-county region’s health officer, Dr. Amy Person, confirmed that Franklin County has the highest coronavirus case rate in the state of Washington as of Thursday’s metrics.

“It’s safe to say that if you are infected with COVID-19 variant, it is going to be the Delta variant, which presents significant challenges in terms of its transmissibility,” Dr. Person said. “Our hospitals have reported that the majority of patients who are hospitalized with COVID, who are in the ICU with COVID, are those who have not been vaccinated.”

She later confirmed that 93% of COVID-19 cases in Benton County are attributed to those who are unvaccinated and that 95% of cases in Franklin County are attributed to unvaccinated citizens.

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