SEATTLE — Washington appears to have avoided a post-Thanksgiving surge in new coronavirus cases and is on track to flatten the curve once again, according to Washington health officials.
“We’re in sort of a precarious position right now,” State Health Officer Kathy Lofy said during a Wednesday briefing. “We’re seeing positive signals in the changes people have made to their lives … but we are not done yet.”
Although the last two weeks of data for new COVID-19 cases isn’t complete, Lofy said officials are “pretty confident” that new cases over that time period will not continue on the same steep trajectory that was recorded before Thanksgiving.
From Nov. 21-Dec. 4, which is the most recent complete data from the Washington State Department of Health, the state saw 468.4 new cases per 100,000 people. That’s slightly lower than the case rate from the two weeks before Thanksgiving.
Lofy said the state has also seen a stabilization over the last week in hospital bed occupancy, and coronavirus hospitalizations are flattening.
Projections show COVID-19 deaths are still expected to increase through the first week of December, but Lofy said deaths tend to lag behind infections and hospitalizations.
Although the numbers are moving in a positive direction, Lofy cautioned the virus will remain difficult to control through winter, and people should keep up safety precautions.
Secretary of Health John Wiesman urged people to not gather in-person for upcoming holidays and to continue the virtual events that they held over Thanksgiving, such as dinner with family over Zoom.
“We’re pleased that we seem to be bending the curve, but we have not plateaued,” Wiesman warned.