There are some questions not being asked concerning COVID numbers in Benton and Franklin County.

We're posing them because readers, listeners and other people are asking us. In the last week, we've been buried with media reports of reportedly skyrocketing numbers of cases, and how far we are from Phase Two criteria. But some of the questions not being asked are troubling people.

Early this week, officials reported 299 new cases of COVID from over the weekend, and that cases had been increasing by about 40 per day recently. According to the Unified Situation Report from the Health District  there were 2,751 total B-F county cases, and 97 deaths.

 Many wonder if the increased testing is resulting in more positive cases. Reason would suggest the more people you test, the more cases you will find.   According to the Unified Report we've included a link to, These are the reasons the BFHD thinks cases are rising:

  • Lack of social distancing in community parks and recreation areas 
  • Large gatherings for Father’s Day – the community saw a spike in cases shortly after Mother’s day and the same potential exists after Father’s Day due to larger family gatherings. 
  • People misinterpreting the testing/results data on the BFHD and DOH websites.
  • Citizens not complying with the mask directive. 
  • Large business refusing testing to avoid the possibility of having identified positive cases at their work site.

Those were listed as Current Risks in the Unified report. There is not any concrete verifiable way to directly prove these risk factors are why cases rose.

Many have wondered if farm or agricultural workers have also helped raise the totals. There are supposed to have been concerted efforts to increase sanitation and preventative measures in fields, processing areas and more. There's been little or no word on how these persons impact the totals.

It is also known an outbreak at Coyote Ridge Correctional facility has involved at least 100 people.  The BFHD does not divulge whether these or other outbreaks accounted for these increases. The report says there are at least 15 outbreaks being monitored. The question would be: What percentage do these make up of new cases in recent days? Where are they? How many of the new cases are from these outbreaks?

Another question unasked and unanswered  is: What is number of "public" non out break cases vs. these outbreaks? 

The only related data listed on the site are cases directly linked to long care facilities such as nursing and assisted care centers, which on June 23 was 358 residents and workers.

Health officials have also cautioned about hospital bed space for COVID patients. According to the Unified report, of the 317 people in beds at Lourdes, Trios, Kadlec and Prosser Memorial, 78, or 24 percent, have COVID or COVID like symptoms. So that means there are 239 non COVID patients.

The question here would be, what number of those 78 are in ICU beds?  

A check via several medical sources, including the hospital's own parent company information sites, shows, Kadlec has at least 20 ICU beds, Trios at least 14, and Lourdes has 16 of what were called "critical triage" beds or units. That's a total of 56.  How many of the COVID patients are utilizing these units?

Many also wonder how many of the positive tests are asymptomatic, meaning the person appears and feels completely healthy, yet tests positive. No data has been provided about this, in fact, it's been virtually ignored. These are people who would NOT require hospitalization or treatment.

Some officials say it's not possible to track some of these data categories, but many citizens we've heard from believe these are important questions not being answered, and they do affect the situation.

For a look at the Unified Report, click on the button below.

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