New cases of COVID-19 in Chelan-Douglas counties at record high but numbers not growing as fast

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Though the number of new COVID-19 cases in Chelan and Douglas counties set another record high this week, the growth in the numbers appears to have slowed.

The Chelan-Douglas Health District reported Thursday that the rate of new cases has jumped to 2,725 per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks.

That’s up from 2,545 new cases per 100,000 population reported last week. The new case rate had been at least doubling each of the previous three weeks.

The high numbers coincide with the arrival of the omicron variant of the virus and a huge demand for testing locally.

Tracking of the numbers has also been complicated by the number of home tests being taken.

When the health district distributes home tests they include instructions to report any positive tests.

But with home tests now available at retail outlets, as well as distributed by the federal government and now the state, tracking new cases is likely to get more difficult.

“At this time, I am not aware of what exactly will be included in the at-home test kits that are provided by State and Federal government, said Veronica Farias, communications and outreach director for the health district. “CDHD recommends anyone who receives at-home test kits from the State or Federal government follow whatever instructions are provided.

Farias said she will be checking with the state Department of Health to clarify what reporting instructions will come with their kits.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is not seeing the same surge as new cases.

On Thursday, Confluence Health reported there are 29 people at Central Washington Hospital with COVID-19, seven of those in the intensive care unit.

The number hospitalized has been consistently in the low 30s or high 20s for several weeks now.