No matter what happens with the election, we all need to double down and get back to basics: Wear a mask, wash your hands, limit your contact with extended family and friends.
As state public health officials warned last week, COVID-19 activity is on the uptick throughout the state. The latest situation report from the State Department of Health shows increases in case counts, hospitalizations and transmissions from mid-September through mid-October. The unwelcome trend held true in multiple counties on both sides of the Cascades.
Officials are particularly concerned about coronavirus’ spread in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, where case counts are higher than the rest of Western Washington, with increased hospitalizations of people age 60 or older, and cases occurring across age groups.
Officials say the increases appear to be the result of community spread, rather than from a few high-profile “super-spreader” events.
“We clearly need a reboot,” said Public Health — Seattle & King County Health Officer Jeff Duchin at a news conference Thursday. “Right now, too many people are doing too much that puts themselves and others at risk.”
One need only look at other states to see the deadly potential of relaxing public health precautions. Last Friday, Oregon public health officials reported the highest number of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic. In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little has signed a statewide public health order re-tightening COVID-19 related public health measures, citing increased hospitalizations and rising cases among health care workers as a reason to pull back to a modified stage three of the state’s Idaho Rebounds plan.
All but 11 states in the U.S. are seeing increases in hospitalization rates, according to the COVID Tracking Project. It’s not clear whether this latest surge has peaked in any state.
With more than eight months of pandemic restrictions behind us and holidays looming, people may be tempted to take a break from COVID-19 precautions. But succumbing to coronavirus fatigue could undo months of sacrifice and care, risking lives and straining medical resources. It’s just not worth the risk.