Increase in COVID-19 activity 'extremely concerning' to health officials as holiday season nears 1On Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released the latest statewide situation report on COVID-19 activity, which shows disease transmission is happening at an accelerated pace across the entire state.

Locally, infection rates in the south King County area are also rising recently, with Public Health – Seattle & King County reporting that Burien is at a 7.2% positive rate over the last 14 days. B-Town also has had 112 hospitalizations and 25 total deaths reported, both above the average for the county.

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Other south King County stats (in order of positive infection rate over last 14 days):

    • White Center: 13.5% positive rate over the last 14 days; 39 hospitalizations and 5 deaths total.
    • Federal Way: 11.9% positive rate over the last 14 days; 211 hospitalizations and 44 deaths total.
    • SeaTac: 11.7% positive rate over the last 14 days; 77 hospitalizations and 14 deaths total.
    • Tukwila: 10.1% positive rate over the last 14 days; 38 hospitalizations and 3 deaths total.
    • Auburn: 9.8% positive rate over the last 14 days; 170 hospitalizations and 34 deaths total.
    • Kent: 9.7% positive rate over the last 14 days; 249 hospitalizations and 59 deaths total.
    • Des Moines: 8.2% positive rate over the last 14 days; 39 hospitalizations and 6 deaths total.
    • Renton: 7.5% positive rate over the last 14 days; 153 hospitalizations and 42 deaths total.
    • Burien: 7.2% positive rate over the last 14 days; 112 hospitalizations and 25 deaths total.
    • Covington: 6.1% positive rate over the last 14 days; 24 hospitalizations and 5 deaths total.
    • Normandy Park: 4.6% positive rate over the last 14 days; just one hospitalization and still no deaths.
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Darker colors represent higher infection rates in this screenshot from Public Health – Seattle & King County’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

DOH report findings include:

    • Disease is spreading rapidly across Washington. The best estimates of the reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) are 1.29 in western Washington and 1.36 in eastern Washington as of October 30. The goal is a number well below one, which would mean COVID-19 transmission is declining.
    • From mid to late-October, case counts and hospitalizations have increased in both western and eastern Washington. Although some of the increase in cases through early October is related to increased testing volumes, more recent case counts in both eastern and western Washington have increased, despite testing volumes being flat.
    • Hospitalizations will continue to rise in western Washington even if cases start to plateau. Hospital admissions in western Washington have been increasing since the start of October. Because patients may stay in the hospital for up to several weeks, hospital occupancy will continue to rise for some time after hospital admissions level off.

“I am extremely concerned about what seems to be an accelerating trend in the spread of COVID-19. Immediate action is needed from all of us to avoid new restrictions and prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “This situation is extraordinarily urgent, and we’re running out of time to change direction. We need everyone in Washington state to take action now to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

DOH says that “there is still time for Washingtonians to make a difference” and recommends the following:

    • Wear a mask around people you don’t live with (even close friends and family).
    • Stay home as much as possible, limit the number, size and frequency of gatherings, and only attend gatherings that are essential.
    • Wash your hands frequently, get your flu shot, and stay home if you’re sick.
    • People who want to visit family for Thanksgiving should limit themselves to only the most essential activities now, and essentially quarantine for two weeks before even a small outdoor gathering.

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Get tips for safer gatherings and ideas for alternative celebrations here.

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 these reports every other week.

More COVID-19 data can be found on the DOH website and in the state’s risk assessment dashboard, as well as Public Health – Seattle & King County’s COVID-19 Dashboard.