Local leaders plea for COVID-19 defense as four die, 80 hospitalized in Benton & Franklin Counties

Benton County, Tri-Cities
Image credit: Neil Fischer, KAPP-KVEW

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Four more people died in Benton County, WA this week as local leaders and healthcare workers plea with the community to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously.

According to a daily COVID-19 update from the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD), Benton County’s coronavirus death toll extends to 238 community members lost with an additional 118 community members lost from Franklin County. That increases the bi-county death toll to 356 community members lost since the start of the pandemic.

These deaths aren’t a coincidence either — community case rates and hospitalizations are rising exponentially as of late. During yesterday’s BFHD Media Briefing, Dr. Amy Person noted that Benton and Franklin County case rates are up 300% over the last 14 days.

During a Benton-Franklin Health District press conference on Friday morning, community leaders pleaded with citizens to take the proper precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

RELATED: Tri-Cities hospitals overwhelmed as COVID-19 case rates jump 300% in 2 weeks

Chief Executive Reza Kaleel of Kadlec said that hospitals in the area are overwhelmed due to this influx of COVID cases. He asked community members to work as a team to prevent this coronavirus spike from increasing any further.

Dr. John Matheson, Director of Emergency Department at Kadlec, told the media that local health care workers and burnt out and that virtually everyone who is being admitted to Benton and Franklin County hospitals is unvaccinated.

This doesn’t just pertain to workers on the frontlines either. Pasco Mayor Saul Martinez spoke during the event and left one resounding message for his community: “We need help.”

As of Friday, 80 people are hospitalized because of COVID-19 across Benton County and Franklin County. They account for one-fifth of the hospital population with a target goal of sub-10% COVID-related hospitalizations.

If the Tri-Cities and surrounding regions are going to overcome the pandemic, it’s going to take an urgent response from community members. If you or a loved one are interested in getting vaccinated, click here to find a clinic near you.


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