SEATTLE — Reported coronavirus cases in King County have doubled since July ahead of the availability of a new COVID-19 vaccine booster meant to strengthen protection against newer variants.
According to Public Health – Seattle & King County's COVID-19 dashboard, the seven-day average of reported cases per 100,000 people is at 38.9 as of Saturday, Sept. 9. The average has been steadily increasing from a rate of 17 that was reported on July 18.
Despite the rise in cases, King County's community transmission level remains low with hospitalizations remaining steady.
According to the dashboard, the uptick in cases has been seen in South King County. The seven-day average of reported cases per 100,000 is 46.5 in Auburn, Kent and Federal Way and 42.3 in Burien, Renton, Tukwila and SeaTac.
The dashboard said King County has seen an average of 115 reported cases per day and eight hospitalizations per day for the past 28 days.
"For about the last month we've definitely had an uptick in COVID," said Dr. Bryce Munson with Overlake Medical Center and Clinics. "In our clinics we do test-to-treat, meaning if you've had symptoms for five days and are a candidate for Paxlovid, we test you, and those test results are showing about a 39% positivity rate in our clinics, and that's not even counting the folks who are doing home testing."
Public Health – Seattle & King County on updated COVID vaccines
Dr. Mia Shim, chief medical officer for Community Health Services for Public Health – Seattle & King County, encourages people to get vaccinated following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s recommendation to get a shot with the updated formula.
"COVID-19 cases are rising and infants and older adults have the highest hospitalization rates," Shim said. "This fall and winter as we gather indoors, we need to remember some simple ways to keep everyone safe and protected from COVID-19, the flu and other respiratory illnesses."
Shim said prevention measures include washing hands regularly, wearing a mask when in crowds, and getting vaccinated.
The CDC recommended updated vaccinations for anyone over 6 months. Shim said for children, anyone 5 years and older, regardless of previous vaccinations, is eligible for one dose of the updated vaccine at least two months after the administration of that vaccine. For children 6 months through 4 years old who are unvaccinated, they should complete a multi-dose series. Children 6 months through 4 years who were previously vaccinated can receive one or two doses of the updated vaccine, depending on which formula.