Got that mask handy? Have you noticed more people are now wearing a mask in Yakima? The coronavirus Omicron strain XBB.1.5 is now the dominant strain in America gaining that lead in just several weeks.

Here comes the wave of cases that are already impacting Yakima

Yakima Health District officials and officials from World Health Organization say they're concerned about another wave of cases that could put people in the hospital and kill others. But there's hope. Officials say many may be able to resist the wave because of "immunity built up by vaccination and prior infection."
Yakima Health District officials last week issued a news release saying "with respiratory illnesses widespread throughout Yakima County, the Yakima Health District is urging community members to get a flu shot and a COVID-19 booster."

The numbers have been growing since the holidays in Yakima

District officials say the case rate in Yakima County from November 15 to December 26 increased by 163%.
On November 15, Yakima County reported a case rate of 54 per 100,000 and on December 26, the case rate was 142 per 100,000. But health district officials say the numbers may be higher "given the availability of at-home test kits."
Currently the COVID-19 hospitalization rate in Yakima County has increased by 233% from 1.5 per 100,000 on November 15 to 5.0 per 100,000 on December 26. The Yakima Health District says during December of last year.

Yakima has seen deaths over the last several months

Yakima County reported seven deaths due to COVID-19. "For reference, September, October, and November combined reported 6 deaths due to COVID-19."
WHO health experts are now recommending, along with the booster shot people wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces.

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