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News >  Health

Breakthrough COVID-19 cases increasing, but vaccines still keeping people out of hospital

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 14, 2022

WSU nursing student Jenny Richardson, right, administers a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Spokane.   (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-RE)
WSU nursing student Jenny Richardson, right, administers a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Spokane.  (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-RE)

Breakthrough cases, when a person who is fully vaccinated tests positive for COVID-19, are increasing in Washington state.

This increase is related to the overall surge in cases statewide, with a more transmissible variant spreading rapidly.

“Even though the Omicron variant has an increased ability to evade immunity from vaccination, vaccines and boosters will lower the risk that an infection could land you in the hospital,” Dr. Tao Shen Kwan-Gett, chief science officer at the Department of Health, said in a news release.

“That’s why to avoid worsening the strain on our hospitals, everyone should use a high quality well-fitting mask, don’t use the emergency department unless it’s a true emergency, and most important get vaccinated and boosted as soon as you are eligible.”

There have been 123,365 vaccine breakthrough cases reported in Washington state from mid-January 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022.

Of these cases, at least 3% of these patients were hospitalized, and 919 people have died of a breakthrough case of COVID-19.

More than half of these deaths were in patients who had underlying health conditions, underscoring the risk that the virus still poses to people with certain medical conditions.

State data still show that vaccinated individuals fare far better than unvaccinated individuals with the virus, however.

Unvaccinated Washington residents over the age of 35 are 11 times more likely to be hospitalized for the virus than fully vaccinated people in the same age group.

With case counts surging, health officials recommend that people get vaccinated or get a booster dose if they are eligible.

Here’s a look at local numbers

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 923 new COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths on Friday.

There have been 1,166 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents.

There are 129 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Spokane .

The Panhandle Health District reported 237 new COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths.

There are 133 Panhandle residents hospitalized for the virus. Kootenai Health is treating 63 COVID patients currently.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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