PULLMAN, Wash. — Adjusted for population size, Pullman has one of the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreaks in the nation, according to a New York Times data dashboard.
The ranking means Pullman has the sixth greatest number of new cases in comparison to how many people live in the area, according to the data dashboard. Based on numbers from the last two weeks, Pullman has 5.9 new cases of coronavirus per every 1,000 residents, according to the dashboard.
From Aug. 16 to Aug. 29, Whitman County reported 292 new cases of COVID-19. That marks a 224.6% increase over two weeks.
On Wednesday, Sept. 2, the Whitman County Health Department reported 59 new positive cases of the coronavirus, for a total of 618 cases. The new cases included 15 females and 14 males between the ages of 0-19, and nine women and 20 men between the ages of 20-39. All are stable and self-isolating, according to the health department.
Whitman County's percentage of positive tests sits at 16% for tests processed between Aug. 24 and Aug. 30, according to the Whitman County Public Health Website.
The average positivity rate for Washington state as a whole is around 3% for the last seven days.
Whitman County is currently in the "red zone" for the current risk of spread based on the 7-day case average. The red zone means community spread is greater than 2 new cases a day, and there are one or more uncontrolled congregate outbreaks, according to the website.
Many of Pullman's new coronavirus cases have occurred since WSU students began moving back to the area, regardless of the university urging students to stay home amid rising coronavirus cases in Whitman County.
The university has been dealing with an outbreak on WSU's Greek Row area, however health officials are also saying many gatherings are being held off-campus in private homes.
Pullman's police chief recently announced the department would start fining hosts of large gatherings in the city. Current state regulations mandate that gatherings in Whitman County can't surpass 10 people.
Pullman Chief of Police Greg Jenkins said if there is a gathering of 10 people or more, the party host will be fined $250, with a second violation resulting in a fine of $350. After that, if someone continues to violate the rule, a civil infraction will turn to a misdemeanor.