New DOH reports: Covid-19 cases plateauing in King County, health official says not enough to safely reopen schools

On Friday evening, August 28th, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released the latest Covid-19 statewide situation report, which reflected some good news – an overall plateau and slight decline in cases in some areas of the state, including King County.

Some key report findings include:

  • The reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) remained close to one as of mid-August. DOH said the best estimate of the reproductive number as of mid-August was 0.86 in western Washington and 0.91 in eastern Washington. Health officials say the goal is a number well below one, translating to COVID-19 transmission declining.
  • DOH is seeing a mix of disease activity across Washington. Good news is King County, along with Clark County, are seeing plateaus. Counties experiencing declines were Benton, Franklin, Pierce and Yakima. But Grant, Lewis and Walla Walla counties are seeing increases.
  • Outbreaks continue to pop up across the state, including in Walla Walla County at the Washington State Penitentiary; in Whitman County among off-campus college students; and in a Kitsap County hospital. DOH said these outbreaks highlight continued susceptibility in Washington.

“While we see some positive trends in our data, we must continue to think differently about the ways we interact with one another,” warned Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “It remains critical that we limit the size and frequency of our social gatherings, wear face coverings and stay home when we are sick. A continued plateau of cases is not enough to safely open schools.”

According to the latest DOH information, to date there have been 73,879 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Washington State, 6,723 hospitalizations and 1,905 deaths. There have been nearly 1.5 million tests performed.

In King County there have been 19,449 confirmed cases, 2,277 hospitalizations and 723 deaths. There have been 456,000 tests performed in King County.

[See our earlier article about Snoqualmie Valley Covid-19 outbreak.]

Although total coronavirus cases have increased throughout the summer as the state reopened and testing increased, hospitalizations and deaths have remained remarkably lower than when the pandemic began in late winter/early spring.

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

[Washington 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 its weekly Covid-19 situation report.]

Covid-19 reproductive number data since pandemic began in Washington

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