Pesky COVID just won’t go away

COVID is like that longtime annoying acquaintance who just won’t go away.

Dr. Gib Morrow, health officer with the Kitsap Public Health District, called the most-recent outbreak “rampant,” adding that the numbers are about two-thirds of what Omicron was at its worst.

While hospitalizations are up again, deaths and intensive care unit cases are not. “The cases don’t seem to be as severe,” Morrow said at the district’s meeting last week. The reason for that is 60 percent of adults nationwide have been vaccinated, he said, adding case rates are back up to 153 per 100,000.

Some counties in the state are actually advising residents to wear masks again.

Meanwhile, cases also are up in the Bainbridge Island School District. Statistics show 57 total with 13 at COS, 11 at Bainbridge High School, nine each at Sakai and Ordway, eight at Wilkes, four at Blakely and three at WMS.

In the latest week available, 256 rapid tests were given with a 6.25 percent positive rate.

This school year, there have been 279 cases at BHS, 98 at Sakai, 82 at WMS, 78 each at Blakely and Ordway, 56 at COS and 50 at Wilkes.

The BISD newsletter says its goal is to keep schools open. If there is an outbreak or cluster, the district may require masks, social distancing, nightly disinfecting, etc.

Also at the KPHD meeting, Amanda Tjemsland, an epidemiologist, provided the County Health Rankings for the year, which in general show positive trends.

She said Kitsap County improved from 13th to ninth when it comes to quality and length of life. When it comes to health, it stayed at No. 4. The rankings have come out every year since 2010. 35 indicator outcomes are used, such as a decrease in pollution.

The county has a lower age mortality rate, but lower hourly wages. Its gender pay gap is 1 cent better than the state average, and childcare costs are lower. Sexually transmitted diseases were up, as were injury deaths.

Dana Bierman, Chronic Disease Program manager, and Morgan Moore, its community liaison, also gave a report.

Bierman said they provide support for everyone from breastfeeding to healthy aging.

She said they provided nutrition assistance to SNAP clients to help with healthy food choices and a healthy lifestyle. They work with the Farmer’s Market to make money go further.

They also help with Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program and Area Agency on Aging, along with tobacco prevention.

Moore works with a youth marijuana prevention program. “Youth choose not to use substances,” she said. Kids are shown how to say no when pressured to use drugs. She said people use drugs to “cope with something else.” They try to help kids deal with those underlying issues. “What are upstream factors?” she asked.

Moore said not only do they build youth skills, they also lobby policymakers for their help.

Bierman also talked about Kitsap Moves Month and its Let’s Move Kitsap effort to promote healthy food and active living. For details go to The site talks about free and fun ways to be active this spring and summer.

Benefits include improved sleep quality, reduced anxiety and reduced blood pressure. The website includes videos to get started and a list of community events.

Also discussed was a 20-bed facility to help the “most vulnerable who don’t have a place to recover, ” like a hospital, said Keith Grellner, district administrator. “It’s a public health benefit.”