Coronavirus update: Benton Co. adds seven deaths

KENNEWICK, Wash. — On Fridays, the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) announced coronavirus-related deaths from the community. Seven more people were added to the running death toll, which surpassed 250 lives lost as of Friday, January 22, 2021.

According to public health officials, seven more people died in Benton County, raising its coronavirus death toll to 173 community members lost. Meanwhile, Franklin County didn’t register any new deaths in this round of data. The Franklin County death toll stands at 83 community members lost. In total, 256 community members have been lost since the start pandemic.

Yesterday’s coronavirus update: Tri-Cities near 20k cases

The youngest person to pass away was a woman in her 50s. Four people in their 70s passed away — One woman and three men. The county also lost a woman in her 80s and another in her 90s. As part of changes to Vital Statistics Laws as of 2021, the county is no longer releasing whether or not these individuals had underlying health conditions.

Meanwhile, Benton County added 86 cases for a grand total of 13,486 coronavirus cases to date. Franklin County added 36 coronavirus cases for a total of 9,718 cases. The bi-county total has risen to 23,204 confirmed cases to date.

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Local positivity rates were reported from January 3, 2021 to January 17, 2021. The CBC testing site reported a 20.38% coronavirus positivity rate in that timespan. The Kennewick testing site, which has since shut down due to the reallocation of National Guard resources, reported a 12.64% coronavirus positive rate.

Though total hospitalizations remain relatively high, coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the bi-county region are holding relatively steady. Of the 409 hospitalized patients in the bi-county region, 53 are being treated for the coronavirus. They account for 13% of total hospitalizations. Public health officials aspire to bring that rate below 10% for optimal hospital readiness.

Vaccination efforts are ramping up as supplies become available. The state aspired to vaccinate 45,000 people per day — A rate they haven’t come close to just yet. However, mass vaccinations for people in Phase 1A and 1B are on the horizon.

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