Yakima County COVID-19 hospitalizations still high

YHD: About 96% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. — The Yakima Health District is reporting high rates of COVID-19 hospitalization, which have remained steady over the past two weeks.

“As of [Thursday], we had 23 hospitalizations and we had a rate of 5.8 per 100,000 hospitalizations, so it’s definitely important that we continue to get vaccinated or wear masks if you’re not vaccinated,” said Stephanie Badillo-Sanchez, Communications Specialist with the Yakima Health District.

Health district officials have found over the last three months that 96% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.

Badillo-Sanchez said about 60% of people 16 and older in Yakima County have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination numbers are much higher among residents 65 and older; 70% are fully vaccinated compared to less than half of residents 18 to 34 years old.

According to data from the health district and the Washington State Department of Health, older residents also account for less than 15% of the county’s COVID-19 cases, while the 18 to 34 age group accounts for more than a third of cases.

“The older age groups were part of those beginning phases, where they were the first ones to be able to get vaccinated, so that could be a reason why we’re seing fewer cases [there],” Badillo-Sanchez said.

Badillo-Sanchez said the increase in hospitalizations aligns with the June 30 opening of the state and loosening of masking guidance. While the county hasn’t seen a comparable increase in COVID-19 cases, officials said that could be due to less people seeking testing.

The health district is continuing its efforts on social media to educate community members and encourage them to get vaccinated.

“We’re really trying to focus on vaccine confidence and trying to have individuals talk to others about why they chose to get vaccinated, so we can continue to see that vaccination in our community,” Badillo-Sanchez said.

The health district is holding a mobile vaccine clinic from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Sarg Hubbard Park — 111 S. 18th St. in Yakima — during the Larson Gallery’s Fresh Air Art Celebration on the Yakima Greenway.

Several clinics are also scheduled Sunday, from:

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Toppenish Flea Market, 900 W. First Ave. in Toppenish
  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Panaderia la Morenita at 117 E. Walnut St. in Yakima
  • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Coastal Farm & Ranch, 2112 S. First St. in Yakima
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fiesta Foods (Sunnyside) at 2010 Yakima Valley Highway #7 in Sunnyside

More information on COVID-19 and future mobile vaccine clinics in Yakima County can be found here.

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