26 October 2023
New COVID-19 hospital admissions in Washington rose by 11% over the first two weeks of October, according to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network. At the county level, trends are more varied. While some counties have seen a decline in new admissions, many are experiencing moderate to substantial increases. For the week ending October 14, ten counties had an increase of 20% or more in the rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Counties with a substantial increase in COVID-19 hospitalization rate (≥20%) over the last 7-day reporting period:
Hospitalizations by ACH region
Below are the hospitalizations data for the state and for each Accountable Community of Health (ACH) region. This helps to highlight the differences in disease activity across the nine ACH regions, which at times can be significant.
Data as of October 17, 2023
Percent of total hospitalizations due to COVID-19
|For week ending November 25||Percent of all hospital admissions||Change over previous week|
|Better Health Together|
(Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Lincoln, Adams)
(Grays Harbor, Mason, Thurston, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Lewis)
|Greater Health Now|
(Kittitas, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, Whitman, Asotin)
(Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan, Island)
(Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap)
(Clark, Skamania, Klickitat)
(Grant, Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan)
Flu tracker: Disease activity in Washington State
Flu season has officially begun.
The Washington State Department of Health monitors flu activity throughout the year, but data resets on October 1. All flu data for the 2023-2024 season will be aggregated from October 1 onward.
For the first two weeks of flu season in Washington state (October 1-14), flu activity is minimal, but keep an eye on the metrics below as we move deeper into the respiratory virus season. Keeping track of signals that transmission is increasing can help you stay ahead of demand for flu tests.
Here’s the latest on flu activity for Washington state:
- Flu activity in Washington state is MINIMAL for the week ending October 14, 2023.
- There have been 0 lab-confirmed flu deaths in Washington since October 1.
- For the week ending October 14, 1% of outpatient visits were for influenza-like illness, below the baseline of 1.9% of visits.
- For the week ending October 14, 0.1% of hospital admissions were for flu.
Historically, flu season tends to peak in February, but last year, flu hit early and hit hard, reaching unprecedented levels of transmission and death by late November and early December. Make sure to stock up on our BD Triplex tests which detect flu and COVID-19 in minutes using one sample.
Chief Tyler Caille of Douglas County Fire District 5 wants to get the word out: We have COVID-19 tests!
In Douglas County Fire District 5 (DCFD5), located in Mansfield, a rural farming community about 3 hours away from Seattle, Chief Caille and his volunteers provide critical Fire and EMS support to the sprawling farming community. Since they began implementing the WA COVID-19 testing program in May 2023, the community support they provide expanded to included COVID-19 test kits. As the public’s focus on the pandemic changes – despite COVID-19 continuing to spread – Chief Caille wants people to know that those COVID-19 tests are still available and still needed. Right now, his biggest challenge is getting the word out:
“As far as challenges go at this point, it’s really just getting the word out. We’re still working on creative ways to get that message delivered more efficiently, but that’s our main focus right now.”
A note on test expiration dates
How to mangage your testing inventory
The DOH authorization that allowed expired tests to be used if they pass quality control tests is no longer valid. All tests must be within the printed expiration date or FDA-approved expiration extension date to be used for testing.
Supply Update: To date, the WA COVID-19 program has provided Fire/EMS agencies with Seimen’s CLINITEST for at-home, OTC COVID-19 testing. Currently, DOH has low-inventory of CLINITEST and may send alternative at-home, OTC tests that they have in stock including Inteliswab or BinaxNOW. These tests are very similar to CLINITEST and can be seamlessly integrated into your existing test distribution programs.
Here’s what to know about expiration dates for the tests we provide:
- BD Veritor Plus Triplex (SARS-CoV2, Flu A+B). This test does not have an FDA extension but all inventory sent by DOH will be current. Check the printed expiration date on the box to determine when these tests are okay to use.
- OTC/At-Home Tests. These tests do have FDA extensions. The printed expiration date on the box no longer accurately communicates expiration. When talking with community members about test supplies and expiration, it is important to share the extended expiration date.
We recommend replenishing stocks as needed to make sure you have enough tests on-hand for one to two months at a time. Consider increasing your inventory of BD Triplex throughout flu season (October to March) to make sure you can keep up with demand.
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We provide resources and one-to-one technical assistance to help you educate community members on why testing matters and how they can test themselves for COVID-19. Knowing when to isolate, especially when other vulnerable individuals may be involved, is critical to protecting community health.
The Washington State Department of Health and Heath Commons periodically reviews the contents of WACOVID19.org to keep information content of WACOVID19.org as up to date as possible during guidance changes and program expansion. The content of WACOVID19.org does not necessarily represent the official views of WA State Department of Health.