Officials had confirmed 102 novel coronavirus cases in Washington state, including 16 deaths, as of Saturday morning.
The updated numbers from the state Department of Health are likely an undercount, both because testing has not been widespread and because state and local health agencies are working to confirm an influx of reports from labs, hospitals and medical examiners.
Of the 16 confirmed deaths in the state, 14 have been associated to Life Care Center of Kirkland, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. The nursing home has been linked to at least 48 total confirmed cases, and information released by Life Care Center Saturday indicate the number may be higher.
Here is the breakdown by county from the state’s updated numbers:
- King: 71 cases, including 15 deaths
- Snohomish: 27 cases, including 1 death
- Grant: one case, no deaths
- Jefferson: one case, no deaths
- Pierce: one case, no deaths
- Clark: one case, no deaths
Officials expect the number of confirmed cases to rise as they catch up with reports and as more tests are done. Even though Washington state is the epicenter in the United States of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, testing started off slowly here because of poorly functioning federally approved testing kits and restrictive guidelines that were only recently relaxed. There are now no restrictions on who can be tested, except for the supply of available tests.
Testing in the state should ramp up, as labs have significantly increased staffing and received new equipment. The state has had limited capacity for testing, State Health Officer Kathy Lofy said at a Wednesday news conference, “But we do not expect that to last long.”
Even with increased testing, confirmed cases are likely to be an undercount of the actual number of cases in the area. Most people with COVID-19 will experience only minor symptoms, and health officials do not recommend they get tested because the supply of tests does not meet the demand. Instead, officials are instructing those who are not at high risk of severe symptoms to isolate themselves and to call before visiting their doctors.