COVID not taking summer vacation in islands

The CDC has reported an increase in COVID-19 cases across the United States, with the amount of COVID-19 being detected in wastewater, the percentage of people testing positive for the virus. and the number of people seeking care for COVID-19 in emergency rooms were all increasing in early July.

Locally, the San Juan County Health & Community Services Department is also seeing an increase in cases, consistent with rates across the country. While overall numbers remain low — far lower than the last three summers — this increase in cases is a reminder that COVID-19 is still circulating, department stated in a news release.

Health & Community Services officials outlined steps for islanders to stay safe:

If you notice cold- or flu-like symptoms, stay home. Remember that COVID-19 symptoms can present mildly. Before a gathering it is best to test twice: 24 hours before and at the time of gathering. If you take an at-home test and test positive for COVID-19, follow the Washington State Department of Health recommendations for isolation so that you do not spread the disease to others.

Keep up the good habits. COVID-19 and other diseases spread through airborne droplets or from touching surfaces with the virus on them. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, remember to cover your coughs and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if you don’t have access to running water and soap.

Make sure you’re up to date with your vaccinations. It’s never too late to vaccinate, If you have not yet been vaccinated or have not received your booster dose, call HCS at 360-378-4474or go to to schedule an appointment today. If you have questions about vaccines, one of our helpful public health nurses can answer your questions.

There has been no new booster recommendation since April 20. If you are over 65 years old or immune compromised, it is recommended that you have two bivalent booster doses for adequate protection. HCS expects a new booster to be approved and available to the public this fall. Details for new COVID-19 booster clinics will be announced after HCS learns more about the approval and distribution timeline of the new booster vaccine.