Tri-Cities region loses 400th community member to COVID-19

Tri-Cities, Grant County, Sunnyside, Yakima

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Public health officials for the bi-county region that encompasses the Tri-Cities have announced 11 more community deaths to COVID-19 complications. This brings the region past 400 community members lost to the virus during the pandemic.

According to the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD), eight more Benton County community deaths to COVID-19 were logged for this week. After one local man’s death reported during last week’s update was removed from the count (his cause of death was not attributed to COVID-19), Benton County is up to 270 community deaths to COVID-19.

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Franklin County lost three more community members, increasing the cumulative COVID-19 death toll to 132. Though Franklin County has fewer total deaths and cases than Benton County to date, it has far exceeded its counterpart in 14-day case rates at many times through the pandemic.

Combined, the bi-county region has suffered 402 community deaths from the coronavirus to date. The youngest person from the Tri-Cities area to pass away in this update was a woman in her 40s. More than half of the people whose deaths were reported in this update were age 70 or older.

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This revelation comes as 118 community members occupy local hospital beds with COVID-19 complications. They account for 29.6% of the bi-county region’s patients occupying hospital beds. Earlier in the pandemic, the BFHD’s goal for local coronavirus hospitalization rates was to keep it below 10%. However, increased community transmission and vaccine hesitancy have contributed to another spike.

On Friday, 102 new coronavirus cases were logged for the Tri-Cities and its surrounding territories. That sum accounts for 72 new cases in Benton County and 30 new cases in Franklin County.

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