Coronavirus update: Hospitalizations dip, one death is reported

Coronavirus
Model of a coronavirus cell (CDC via AP, File)

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Yesterday’s coronavirus update based on metrics released by the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) showed a noteworthy uptick in hospitalizations in the region. Today, those rates balanced out despite the BFHD reporting a 48.7% increase in cases added from Thursday to Friday, April 2, 2021.

According to metrics from public health officials, Benton County nearly doubled yesterday’s added cases with 40 new infections reported in the region. Now, Benton County stands at 15,269 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. By adding 18 more cases, Franklin County increased its running count to 11,386 confirmed cases to date. Combined, the bi-county region has accumulated 26,655 coronavirus cases since the pandemic hit the Pacific Northwest early in 2020.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: Hospitalization rate increases to 5%

Once per week on Fridays, public health officials update the community death toll for Benton and Franklin Counties. Last week was the first in months in which the BFHD had no coronavirus-related deaths to report. This week, only one more casualty of the pandemic was added to that list. No details were added regarding the identity of the community member lost besides their status as a Benton County resident.

As of now, 208 Benton County community members have been lost to COVID-19. Franklin County has lost 99 community members to COVID-19, contributing to the bi-county total of 307 community members lost to this pandemic.

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Regional COVID-19 rates saw a surprising uptick as five more people were hospitalized for complications with the virus on Thursday. Today, the BFHD reports that the hospitalization rate dropped by 1.5% from 5% to 3.5%. Of the 432 hospitalized patients in these two counties, 15 are being treated for complications with the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Governor Jay Inslee and state Health Secretary, Dr. Umair Shah announced that all Washingtonians age 16+ will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 15. This isn’t the first time that state leaders have accelerated the vaccination timeline — On March 31, two new tiers including millions of people were set forth in COVID-19 vaccination guidelines.

Appointments for next week at the Benton County Fairgrounds mass vaccination site, in addition to the new mass vaccination site in Yakima, will become available shortly.

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