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Isolation, quarantine site opens in Auburn as COVID-19 cases rise

The rise in cases linked to the omicron variant has King County health officials urging people to take precautions.

AUBURN, Wash. — An isolation and quarantine facility opened in Auburn on Jan. 3 as the COVID-19 omicron variant rapidly spreads across Washington state.

Cases in King County tripled from the highest peak previously seen during the pandemic, according to health officials. 

The site, operating in the former Auburn Clarion Inn, offers 100 rooms for people who are unable to do so. It is free. Twenty-four-hour security is provided, as is transportation and medical resources. 

The Inn was previously purchased by the county as part of its Health Through Housing initiative, a regional approach to addressing chronic homelessness.

The Inn will convert back to what it was originally planned for once it is no longer needed for isolation and quarantining. 

COVID-19 cases in King County have spiked since mid-December. The daily average cases is 2,358. As of Jan. 3, there was a 15% increase in cases over a seven-day period, according to data from Public Health - Seattle & King County. Hospitalizations have seen an 80% increase, with 187 over a seven-day period.

Nationwide, new COVID-19 cases per day have more than tripled over the past two weeks, reaching a record-shattering average of 480,000. Schools, hospitals and airlines are struggling as infected workers go into isolation. 

Hospital admissions averaged 12,700 per day last week, up 46% from the previous week, but well short of the peak of 16,500 per day a year ago, when the vast majority of the U.S. was unvaccinated. Deaths have been stable over the past two weeks at an average of about 1,200 per day, well below the all-time high of 3,400 last January.

Omicron accounted for 95% of new coronavirus infections in the U.S. last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday, in another indication of how astonishingly fast the variant has spread since it was first detected in South Africa in late November. 

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