Data on COVID-19 for the Tri-Cities area has been mixed over the past week, with sewage sampling showing a large increase in the virus in the community, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reduced the community level score for part of the area.
CDC has upgraded Benton County’s COVID-19 community level rating to ‘low’ for COVID-19, but Franklin County remains rated ‘medium’ as both counties were a week ago . Benton County was one of seven Washington state counties with a “low” rating on Friday.
Seventeen were rated “medium” and 15, including Walla Walla County, were rated “high.”
Across the country, 45% of counties have “low” community levels of COVID-19, 35% have “medium” levels and 19% have “high” levels, according to the CDC.
The CDC rates counties based on the number of new COVID-19 cases, hospital beds used by COVID patients, and hospital admissions for people with the disease. Due to the Franklin County rating, tours of the historic Hanford Reactor B, part of the Manhattan Project National Historic Park, have been canceled for the second week in a row, including the three-day weekend. of July 4. Most of the Hanford nuclear reserve is in Benton and Franklin counties.
The notes also provide a general guide for community members. The CDC says people at high risk for severe illness in counties with average community levels of COVID-19, like Franklin, should at least talk to their doctor about whether they should wear a mask, and people in contact with people at high risk for serious illness should wear a mask when indoors with them.
Wearing masks indoors is recommended for everyone when community levels are deemed “high,” such as in Walla Walla County. Many Washington state public health officials continue to recommend wearing masks in crowded spaces across the state.