COVID-19 still rising in Washington; no turnaround yet

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released the latest statewide situation report, and they say it shows similar trends to previous reports. 

They say numbers show that transmission continues to increase overall in eastern and western Washington.

“While in some counties daily case counts may be decreasing or plateauing, transmission is likely increasing overall in eastern and western WA. As a result, we expect the COVID-19 burden to continue to grow. This is a reflection that community behavior and transmission reduction efforts are still insufficient to limit the continued growth of COVID-19 in Washington State. “

In their report, officials state that;

  • COVID-19 transmission continued to grow across the state as of early July. Best estimates place the reproductive number (the estimated number of new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) above one across the state – it’s estimated at 1.19 in western Washington and 1.08 in eastern Washington. The goal is a reproductive number below one, which would mean the number of people getting COVID-19 is declining.
  • Case numbers continue to trend upward in many counties, while King County has remained flat near its historical peak. Pierce County cases have continued to increase and hit a new peak since our last report. Yakima’s rates have continued to decline since early June, but Okanogan now has the most cases per capita in Washington. It’s difficult to tell whether these numbers reflect true decreases, or if delays in testing are impacting numbers. Daily new case counts in other counties, including Benton, Franklin, Spokane, and Grant, have seen decreases or plateaus, which hopefully reflects improved adherence to masking and physical distancing guidelines.
  • Test positivity in eastern Washington has been slowly decreasing; however at 14.6% it remains very high and is over three times as high as in western Washington (4.2%). The recent concentration of new cases in young adults has continued to spread into younger and older age groups. As noted in last week’s report, this trend in age distribution reflects a similar trend in Florida, where a high concentration of cases in young adults spread broadly into other age groups. New hospitalizations are also increasing across most age groups in both western and eastern Washington.
  • Deaths continue to rise in eastern Washington, and have been increasing in western Washington for the past two weeks.

“While we see daily case counts decreasing in some jurisdictions, we need to see these trends statewide,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “Transmission reduction efforts are still insufficient to limit the continued growth of COVID-19. This is why fewer, shorter, and safer interactions are crucial. Staying home is still safest but if you go out, keep it quick, keep your distance from others, and wear a face covering.”

DOH partners with the Institute for Disease Modeling, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington and the Microsoft AI for Health program to develop this weekly report.

More COVID-19 data can be found on the DOH website and in the state’s risk assessment dashboard.