Kitsap Public Health District officials are calling on residents to recommit to fighting the spread of COVID-19, as the rate of cases has spiked in recent days.
Dr. Gib Morrow, KPHD health officer, said the new wave has the potential to overwhelm the already-strained healthcare system and challenge the ability for schools to continue in-person learning.
“I know we are all tired of COVID, but this new surge in cases cannot be ignored,” Morrow said. “We need to recommit to taking basic steps to prevent the spread of the virus for the sake of our families, our schools, our hospitals, our businesses, and ourselves.”
A significant number of recent cases in Kitsap are connected to clusters within organizations. This week, KPHD is responding to about 30 outbreaks in the community, including some linked to high school basketball and wrestling programs.
The rate in Kitsap County more than doubled in the most-recent week, a KPHD news release says. Kitsap’s seven-day case rate per 100,000 population jumped from 112 on Dec. 18 to 249 on Dec. 24, and is expected to continue climbing. (Case rates are delayed by five days to improve accuracy.)
Kitsap’s rate of cases has reached its highest level since September. The surge comes in the midst of the winter holiday season and just as the first detected case of the Omicron variant in Kitsap County was confirmed. Other Puget Sound counties are experiencing rapid growth in cases, and COVID activity is high throughout most of the nation. Recent case increases are driven by Omicron, which is believed to spread more easily than earlier COVID variants, the release states.
“With the arrival of Omicron, we all will be at risk for contracting COVID in coming weeks,” Kitsap Public Health DistrictKPHD health officer Dr. Gib Morrow said. “Getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do to protect your health and stay out of the hospital. If you are already vaccinated, get a booster shot as soon as you can.”
Vaccination: Vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant, especially for those who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot.
Masking: A mask is required in indoor public spaces and large outdoor events in Washington. Consider wearing a mask anytime you are around people from outside of your household. Wear a mask that fits over your mouth and nose.
Distancing: Avoid crowded indoor settings and gatherings in poorly ventilated indoor spaces. Increase your protection by maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from people outside of your household.
Washing hands: Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Carry hand sanitizer with you.
Testing: Whether you are vaccinated or not, help keep people around you safe by avoiding contact with others and getting tested if you have symptoms of COVID or have been exposed to someone with COVID. Follow all public health guidance if you test positive.
Stay home when sick: Stay home as much as you can, except to seek medical care. Many respiratory illnesses are circulating. Do your best to avoid getting others sick.