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CDC recommends 15 Washington counties should wear masks again

CDC data shows 15 Washington counties have COVID-19 community levels rated “high."

SEATTLE — People in over a dozen Washington state counties should begin wearing masks indoors in public and on public transportation again, according to recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The latest information from the CDC shows that 15 counties have COVID-19 community levels rated “high,” meaning they have had 200 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, or they’ve had more than 20 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people within a seven-day period.

According to CDC data calculated on June 30, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Lewis, Thurston, Pierce, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Ferry, Lincoln, Spokane, Walla Walla, Columbia and Asotin counties all have “high” COVID-19 community levels.

Credit: CDC
A map shows COVID-19 community levels in Washington state using CDC data from June 30, 2022. As of July 4, 15 Washington counties were rated “high.”

King, the state’s most populous, and Snohomish counties both are considered to have “medium” transmission levels, according to the CDC map.

The Washington State Department of Health said last week that the state is seeing a slight decline in cases as of June 12. However, self-testing or not testing at all may be contributing to the decline. 

The cases reported to the Department of Health likely represent less than 10% of infections in Washington, according to the department.

Washington State Department of Health officials said there is a slight uptick in hospitalizations but deaths remain stable. Hospitals are still very full and are reporting stress due to workforce shortages and difficulty discharging patients.

The CDC said anyone at risk for severe illness in those 15 counties should consider taking additional precautions besides simply wearing a mask, like staying 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing their hands often.

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