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'This disease is alive and well': Health officials urge caution as COVID-19 cases surge in King County

Washington's vaccine rollout has brought hope to many, but it's also led some to let down their guard. Now cases are rising in King County.

SEATTLE — Amid good news about Washington's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, there are concerns about a surge in cases. But doctors say while this is concerning, it's something that can be controlled.

Nationally, more than two dozen states including Washington are seeing an increase in cases. Officials are warning of a “fourth wave” as more people begin to travel.

King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said last week the county saw 250 new reported cases, a 26% increase from the previous week.

“This week's forecast shows increasing storm clouds on the horizon,” he said.

On Sunday alone, King County reported another 253 new COVID-19 cases since the day before. Data from the county health department show COVID-19 cases have been spiking in the county since the week of March 23.

“We can't predict how big the surge will be or how long it will last or exactly how much damage it will cause. But we need to be prepared for further increases in cases and hospitalizations over the coming weeks,” Duchin said.

He said while people wait for the vaccine they should continue to play it safe.

“Many cases, up to 50% spread from people before they have symptoms or know they're ill. And it's very important for that reason to be vigilant, take precautions and continue to understand that this disease is alive and well in our community,” he said.

Duchin added Washington Gov. Jay Inslee assured health officials the state has enough vaccine supply to address the increase in demand expected when all residents 16 and older become eligible for the vaccine on April 15

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