LONGVIEW, Washington — Public health officials in Cowlitz and Clark counties are urging people to stay close to home this spring break and take precautions if gathering with others.
COVID-19 case numbers had plateaued in both counties, but over the last few weeks have begun to increase. Additionally, multiple COVID-19 virus variants have been identified in Cowlitz and Clark counties, including variants known to spread more easily.
“The increasing virus activity should be a reminder to all of us that the pandemic is not over,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, health officer for Cowlitz and Clark counties. “It’s been a long year and we’re all experiencing pandemic fatigue, but we need to have a little more patience.”
While the number of people getting vaccinated continues to increase, most people in our communities are not yet protected. In Cowlitz County, 25% of people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 13% are fully vaccinated.
“Until more people are able to get vaccinated and COVID-19 activity decreases, we all need to do our part to keep our community healthy and businesses open,” Melnick said.
Public health officials recommend spending spring break close to home and avoiding unnecessary travel. COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise across the country and traveling can increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
Anyone gathering with people they don’t live with should take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
• Avoid large gatherings.
• Gather outdoors, if possible, and stay at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with.
• If you’re gathering indoors, keep the group small (no more than 10 people you don’t live with), wear face coverings and open doors and windows to increase air flow.
People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should continue to take precautions, such as wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing when in public and gathering with others.
In certain situations, people who are fully vaccinated may be able to gather with others without wearing face coverings. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional information.
The CDC and local health officials continue to recommend delaying all unnecessary travel. People who must travel should take additional precautions:
• If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated before you travel.
• Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
• Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when in public.
• Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet from anyone who did not travel with you.
• Get tested 3-5 days after your trip and stay home (quarantine) for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
Visit the CDC website to read its current COVID-19 travel guidance.