PACIFIC COUNTY — New cases of covid-19 have hit a nearly three-month low in Pacific County, but tragedy hit the area all the same over the past week.

County health director Katie Lindstrom confirmed on Monday that three more Pacific County residents died due to complications caused by covid-19 over the previous week, raising the county’s pandemic death toll to 32. The most recent individuals who passed away were in their 40s, 60s and 70s, Lindstrom said.

In Clatsop County, with double Pacific’s population, covid deaths totaled 27 as of Oct. 14.

The deaths come as Pacific County continues to see its coronavirus caseloads lighten over the past several weeks. The case rate per 100,000 people over a two-week period in the county stood at 406 as of Oct. 18, down from 531 a week ago and the lowest it’s been since late July.

The county is also nearing another milestone. As of Monday, 1,992 cases have been reported in Pacific County since the pandemic began, up 41 from last week. Hospitalizations increased by two over the past week, for a total of 109.

Health department sees strong mandate complianceAs a healthcare setting, the Pacific County Health and Human Services Department is among those in the county, along with hospitals and other places where healthcare services are provided, that falls under the purview of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Oct. 18 vaccine mandate deadline.

Lindstrom said the “vast, vast majority” of employees in her department are vaccinated. Two employees were granted either a medical or religious exemption.

“It went well. We had a highly vaccinated group to start with, which made it a lot easier,” Lindstrom said. “And obviously public health is going to be a pretty vaccinated group, because we wouldn’t do the work if we didn’t believe in it.

Along with healthcare workers, others affected by the Oct. 18 deadline include most state employees and school staff. As of Oct. 4, more than 90% of state workers were in compliance with the mandate, either by verifying their vaccination status or being granted an exemption.

The Oct. 4 total includes 79.6% of employees at the Naselle Youth Camp, 84% of Washington State Parks employees, 89.9% of Washington State Patrol employees, and 92.7% of state Fish & Wildlife employees. Updated totals are expected in the coming days.

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