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Delta variant drives dramatic spikes in Washington COVID cases

OLYMPIA – COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are accelerating across the state of Washington, demonstrating the delta variant’s potential to unravel hard-fought progress toward recovery. Unvaccinated people are being hit hardest, and public health officials continue to urge everyone who has not gotten fully vaccinated to do so immediately.

The Washington State Department of Health says now is also the time to redouble efforts around key behaviors that keep the virus from spreading. Mask wearing, hand washing, use hand sanitizer are good precautions. People should stay home if sick or exposed to COVID-19, and get tested if they have symptoms.

“We are extremely concerned by this increased spike in cases, driven by the delta variant, spreading like wildfire amongst men, women, and children,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health.

“Vaccination the best tool we have in this pandemic, but we also recommend that individuals mask indoors, and avoid large, crowded settings vaccinated or not. We need to use all the tools we have to reduce the ongoing spread of this virus in our community and to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”

Case rates are rising across all age groups because of widespread disease transmission.

Within the last 30 days, the majority of counties have seen substantial increases. Among area counties, Grays Harbor has seen cases increase by 100 percent, Cowlitz County by as high as 300 percent, Clark County is grouped with other counties in the range of 300-500 percent, and Pacific County has seen a more than 600 percent increase in cases.

Prevalence is approaching levels last seen in the winter 2020 surge, which means a lot of people are currently infected and may be spreading the virus. As of July 30, one in 172 WA residents was estimated to have an active COVID-19 infection.