COVID

OKANOGAN — Cases of COVID-19 continue to climb across the county, with 485 news cases reported in the past two weeks, according to Okanogan County Public Health.

As of Thursday, the agency reported a cumulative total of 4,514 cases and an incident rate of 1,125.

Last week, the agency announced cases could not be directly attributed to the Okanogan County Fair, which ran Sept. 9-12 in Okanogan.

“While we can identify a couple of cases that people said, ‘Yeah, I attended the fair,’ keep in mind we had schools going on. School started the week before,” Okanogan County Public Health Community Health Director Lauri Jones said. “I feel like the fair did what they could do. No one can control people’s behavior.

“We really feel like there was a (COVID safety) plan in place,” she said. “Not everyone wanted to comply, but I think those that did, did.”

She said the fair leaders “made an effort to make sure this was a safe and fun enjoyable time. And I think they succeeded in that.”

Vaccination efforts

As of late the week, the county reported 53 percent of the eligible population was listed as fully inoculated, and booster shots were administered Friday at the Okanogan County Fairgrounds.

“Over 200 registered already,” Jones said Thursday. “We will be doing boosters and first and second doses for those that haven’t gotten COVID yet – or gotten the vaccine.”

The free vaccine event run from 8-10 a.m. every Friday from now “until the end of the year,” she said.

The state Department of Health announced the approval to expand criteria of eligibility for a booster (third) dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. That is following a statement made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommending certain populations receive a booster at least six months after completing their Pfizer vaccine primary series.

Previously, only immunocompromised individuals were eligible for a third dose. The CDC and the Western States work group recommend:

• People 65 years and older should receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer primary series.

• Residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer primary series.

• People aged 50-64 with certain underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer primary series.

• People 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 because of certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

• People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

Residents interested in receiving a vaccine need to register online ahead of the event at okanogancountycovid19.org.

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