Five die of virus in Grant County
Health pros: Vaccinations key to return to normal life
Last updated 4/28/2021 at 8am
With five more dead in Grant County from COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy apparently on the rise, health officials issued pleas this week for people get use the available “tools to take the fight to the virus.”
The five deaths reported by Grant County Health District Monday night bring the county’s total fatalities to 120, and officials noted the ages of those who don’t survive is trending younger than it was early on as seniors were the first non-healthcare group to be allowed to get vaccinated.
All Moses Lake residents, they were man in his 50s, a woman in her 60s, two men in their 60s and a man in his 90s. None were in a long-term care facility, but all had underlying conditions that put them at higher risk.
“This is a painful and ongoing reminder of how COVID-19 continues to needlessly steal lives away from our community,” said Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brzezny. “We now have the tools to take the fight to the virus. Vaccines fight COVID spread and decrease death and hospitalizations. So, please, join me and the rest of our community by vaccinating. Continue masking, distance physically when in public, avoid crowds, use a proper hand hygiene, and get vaccinated as soon as possible. We need every
Washingtonian doing their part so we can overwhelm the virus and continue regaining our freedoms back,” he said.
Marlene Elliot, chief nursing officer at Coulee Medical Center told hospital district commissioners Monday night that only 27 percent of Grant County is vaccinated, compared to 43.4% for the state as a whole.
Among the hospital’s own employees, the trend fits, with about 30 percent vaccinated so far, she said.
Elliot spoke at a meeting of the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce last Thursday, noting that the hesitation people have to take a vaccine seems to stem from misunderstandings about the rapid development of the two main vaccines first deployed in the United States: the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which were developed using a new method.
She said testing was thorough, and that it was quicker under the emergency measures only because some testing took place concurrently, instead of getting through one set of tests before starting another.
All the testing was done, however. And Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine was tested for about a year before being OK’d for public distribution, with Moderna’s following shortly after.
CMC has hosted five drive-through vaccine clinics, giving about 1,500 shots out, she said.
Elliot noted that “break-through” cases are expected. That is, some vaccinated people will still get the virus, but likely a milder case of it than they would have.
“The vaccine is what’s preventing it from being much worse,” she said.
She said her parents, both in their 90s, had serious COVID-19 infections but recovered. They’ve both been vaccinated now and are doing fine.