Thanksgiving 2020 marked the beginning of a massive surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, and health officials in Yakima County urge caution as another holiday season kicks off.
“As we approach these upcoming holidays, we encourage community members to be cautious,” Yakima Health District Officer Dr. Neil Barg said in a news release. “Public health recommendations will help us to remain safe. Last year around this time, we saw the beginning of another surge in COVID-19 cases that remained high over the holidays. This holiday season, we want to remain vigilant and use all the measures (vaccines, masks, distancing, hand washing) we know to reduce our risk of contracting COVID-19.”
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested, regardless of their vaccination status, and people should get tested if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the district said.
Individuals are encouraged to visit the Yakima County COVID-19 testing sites webpage or call 211 for additional testing site locations.
The Yakima Health District also stresses there is still time to be fully vaccinated by Christmas Eve if people receive a single Johnson & Johnson shot or their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines by Dec. 10.
In addition to stressing the importance of COVID-19 and flu vaccines, the health district recommends wearing a face covering in indoor public settings or when in a crowded area to reduce the chances of virus transmission.
The infection case rate per 100,000 people in the past 14 days was 295 on Monday in Yakima County, according to the Yakima Health District. It marks a significant drop from the peak of the recent surge in cases that saw the rate per 100,000 surpass 1,000 for much of September. The district and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to characterize the level of community transmission as high.