Critically high number of COVID cases in Pierce County, officials say

Pierce County Public Health has alerted residents of a critically high number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

Pierce County reported 286 COVID cases and a positivity rate of 19% over the past seven days which would put the county in the Centers for Disease Control’s "high" category. Anything above a 5% positivity rate of COVID cases is considered high.

Nationally, 80% of people 12 and older have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. However, Pierce County is at 50% of that group immunized.

"We had all hoped we’d never see a surge of this magnitude again," AZ Snyder, Pierce County health officer, said, "It’s now clear that COVID-19 is following a seasonal pattern and that we don’t have enough people vaccinated in Pierce County to create an immunity wall."

The surge of COVID cases has resulted in extremely limited hospital bed availability.

"The ability of small hospitals in the region to transfer patients who need to be in an intensive care unit (ICU) or on a ventilator to a hospital that can provide those services is extremely limited," according to Alison Page, CEO at Western Wisconsin Health. "There are not enough ICU beds, and the situation could get worse over the next several weeks."

Pierce County departments are in an effort to protect residents and staff by taking extra steps to avoid spread in county facilities.

"Pierce County continues to very closely monitor COVID-19 illness in our communities to help us make safe decisions with regard to our delivery of services and public meetings, all while mitigating the spread of illness among staff and citizens alike," Pierce County Administrative Coordinator Jason Matthys said.

With the holidays coming, Pierce County shared these tips to consider taking to avoid spread during gatherings:

  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible. If you are eligible for a booster, get one before your gathering.
  • Remind everyone to stay home if they’re having any symptoms of COVID or are currently under isolation or quarantine.
  • Consider getting tested before the gathering.