New data from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shows COVID-19 infections are increasing in the state, particularly in eastern Washington and with a possible uptick in western Washington.
The latest statewide situation report released Saturday says there is a concern for Benton, Franklin, Spokane, and Yakima counties. All those counties are still in Phase 1 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start reopening plan, except for Spokane, which is in Phase 2.
According to the report, experts estimate COVID-19 could spread dramatically in those areas.
“Current transmission levels will likely lead to increasingly explosive growth in cases and deaths if not contained, and local prevalence will likely soon exceed the peak reached in King County in late March,” the report said.
Gov. Inslee addressed the new report on Saturday, saying this is a reminder that the coronavirus remains in our state and Washingtonians need to stay vigilant.
“To continue tackling this virus, we must increase testing and mask-wearing, and maintain physical distancing and hospital capacity, as well as target interventions for high-risk populations such as long-term care facilities and indoors, including close proximity workplace operations, such as food processing and agricultural housing,” said Gov. Inslee in a statement. “This is not the time to give up on efforts to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. We are still in the middle of a pandemic that is continuing to infect and kill Washingtonians.”
While eastern Washington remains of greater concern for COVID-19 activity, according to the report, experts are now seeing small increases in western Washington as well.
The report findings include possible transmission increases over Memorial Day weekend for western Washington but does not include increases that may have occurred following recent protests.
State and local health officials have encouraged anyone who has participated in large protests over the last few weeks to get tested for COVID-19, even if they aren’t showing symptoms.