According to the latest data from the Benton Franklin Health Department, some interesting questions arise.

In the most recent Unified Situation Report dated 6-16 (it's a list of all the BFHD actions and information about COVID for the week) it says there are 15 outbreaks being investigated, but the definition of an outbreak is not given.  Apparently it is some form of multiple cases from singular location, venue or facility. Outbreaks, say many, should be considered when it comes to re-open status; as opposed to just the total case counts. These outbreaks are more confined, therefore might be easier to contain.

Also, it is noted in the case report data, that although they make up 33.1 percent of the population in B-F Counties, Hispanics account for 48.2 of the COVID cases. The next highest percentage is 21.4 for whites. Cases among other ethnic groups drop way below those two figures. Much of this is attributed to agricultural workers who come and go often and are on the move. Due to language issues and frequent travel, it's more of a challenge to reach the workers and ensure they're taking precautions such as wearing of masks.  An effort has been made to provide more masks and sanitizing for field workers over the last few weeks.

It was also noted in some media reports that ICU beds are becoming in short supply, but some of that is due to people suffering from other illnesses besides COVID. According to the BFHD, a grand total of 288 people have been treated in the four area hospitals since the BEGINNING of the COVID pandemic in Benton and Franklin Counties (Kadlec, Trios, Lourdes and Prosser).

This week, of the 371 patients being treated in beds at these four facilities, 76 have COVID or "COVID-like" symptoms, which is just over 20%.  That figure has been lower, but has mostly been in the upper teens or around 20-21. And, as of June 18 the total number of deaths attributed to COVID or COVID like symptoms is 95 combined.

Although Gov. Inslee's requirements of 25 cases or less per 100,000 of population are what's being looked at, the total number of cases as of Thursday (2345) are 0.99 percent of the B-F County metro population of 236,000.   zero point 99 percent.

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