3 More Dead, 672 New Cases

Christel Deskins

SEATTLE, WA — State health officials confirmed three new deaths linked to COVID-19 in Washington and 672 new confirmed cases of the disease Wednesday, marking the lowest number of new case counts the state has seen in days as it endures a surge of new infections. At the weekly Department […]

SEATTLE, WA — State health officials confirmed three new deaths linked to COVID-19 in Washington and 672 new confirmed cases of the disease Wednesday, marking the lowest number of new case counts the state has seen in days as it endures a surge of new infections.

At the weekly Department of Health update Wednesday, health care officials expressed concern about the number of new infections. Washington is currently seeing roughly double the number of new cases as it saw in the first coronavirus peak in March.

“What’s so important right now is that we have fewer, shorter and safer interactions. That’s absolutely crucial to our moving forward,” said Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “If you go out, keep it quick, keep it distanced from others, and wear your face coverings.”

Over the past few weeks Washington has seen a spike in younger coronavirus patients. At the time, officials worried would it lead to spikes in other age groups— which may now have begun happening. The first bump came in patients aged 20 – 24, followed by a surge in the 15-29 age range and now analysts say there is increased activity in patients aged 30 – 45 as well. Florida’s current outbreak started similarly, beginning in younger patients but eventually exploding into all age groups over a three-week period.

“[We are] very concerned that we don’t head down the same path that Florida did, in terms of the broadening of cases,” said Wiesman.

When the trend began, Gov. Inslee announced restrictions banning gatherings larger than 10. No new restrictions have been announced by health officials say they’re on the table if case counts continue to grow.

Deaths Wednesday were reported in Franklin, Kittitas and Spokane counties. A death mistakenly assigned to Benton County was also reassigned.

The new numbers mean a total of 49,247 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the state since the outbreak began, and 1,468 people have died.

A total of 855,152 Washingtonians have been tested for the coronavirus, meaning roughly 5.8 percent of tests come back positive.

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Catch up on the latest developments:

Schools consider remote learning, UW moves more classes online

Earlier this summer, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced that schools across the evergreen state should prepare for in-person learning when they return in the fall.

Now, amid the recent surge in coronavirus cases, it appears that will not be possible for some school districts. Wednesday, Seattle Public Schools became the latest and largest school district to announce that they plan to shift back to remote learning when classes resume in the fall. Their decision follows similar choices by the Northshore, Bellevue and Kent school districts.

Earlier, SPS had planned to use a hybrid model mixing limited in-person instruction with remote learning classes, but now SPS says that cant be done “until the risk of significant transmission of Covid-19 has decreased enough to resume in-person instruction.” The district will vote on the proposal on August 12.

The State Superintendent says other schools could follow suit if the case counts remain high.

“We are likely to see many school districts decide to take most of their instruction and supports online, while many others will provide in-person learning within the health and safety guidelines,” wrote Reykdal in a statement Wednesday.

Reykdal’s initial plan had been to have schools prepare as if they would return to class in the fall, but to develop backup plans if they felt they couldn’t safely reopen. Reykdal says SPS’s latest move is “within the bounds of the reopening guidance” his office issued in June, and that he supports their decision.

Meanwhile, the University of Washington is following suit. UW announced Wednesday that fewer than 10 percent of their courses may be in-person in the fall. Like SPS and other school districts who have decided to stay remotely, UW is citing an “alarming increase” in COVID-19 cases as the cause. Earlier the college had planned on teaching classes of up to 50 students in larger classrooms.

Read more:

Seattle Schools Plan For Remote Learning In The Fall

University Of Washington Moves More Fall Courses Online

Study: home coronavirus tests nearly as good as clinic tests

One of the key metrics that the state uses to gauge how well it is handling the coronavirus pandemic is through the amount of testing: if testing is easy and readily available, health officials say it will make the pandemic easier to track and stop it from spreading.

Now, a new study from UW Medicine may ultimately help expand testing in Washington. Researchers say their study found that at-home nasal swab tests are roughly as effective as clinical coronavirus tests performed by a doctor. Depending upon the severity of the infection, the simple home-swab tests they studied correctly identified between 80 and 95 percent of the positive cases that would’ve been detected by in-clinic tests.

Researchers say that’s an acceptable level, and knowledge that could greatly benefit in the fight against the pandemic: the more patients who can safely and accurately take the test at home, the fewer opportunities there are for patients to infect health care workers at clinics. It may also help better track infections in patients who wouldn’t normally go to the hospital or a clinic when they feel sick.

Read more about the study and its implications on UW Medicine’s website here.

Total coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths by county:

County

Confirmed Cases

Hospitalizations

Deaths

Adams

318 (+4)

13 (+1)

0

Asotin

22 (+1)

1

2

Benton

2,983 (+37)

286 (+8)

102 (-1)

Chelan

818 (+40)

32

6

Clallam

71 (-1)

3

0

Clark

1,271 (+11)

138 (+2)

32

Columbia

10

2

0

Cowlitz

367 (+2)

32

2

Douglas

576 (+32)

24 (+2)

4

Ferry

6

0

0

Franklin

2,882 (+36)

227 (+8)

44 (+1)

Garfield

2

0

0

Grant

1,004 (+12)

72 (+2)

8

Grays Harbor

66

11

2

Island

219 (+2)

33

11

Jefferson

50

10

0

King

13,627 (+177)

1,953 (+7)

638

Kitsap

423 (+16)

43

3

Kittitas

304 (+1)

12 (-1)

4 (+2)

Klickitat

85 (+2)

9 (+1)

3

Lewis

132 (+3)

18

3

Lincoln

6

0

0

Mason

88 (+4)

6

1

Okanogan

506 (+24)

12 (+1)

2

Pacific

26 (+1)

3

1

Pend Oreille

26

3

0

Pierce

4,003 (+90)

509 (+8)

115

San Juan

25 (+1)

1

0

Skagit

712 (+5)

72 (+1)

17

Skamania

43 (-2)

3

1

Snohomish

4,512 (+58)

656 (-2)

181

Spokane

2,896 (+76)

208 (+6)

45 (+1)

Stevens

48 (+2)

7

1

Thurston

484 (+9)

53 (+1)

5

Wahkiakum

6

0

0

Walla Walla

308 (+8)

21 (+1)

3

Whatcom

807 (+5)

69

37

Whitman

57 (+1)

1

0

Yakima

9,312 (+49)

663 (+6)

194

Unassigned

146 (-33)

5 (-2)

1

Total

49,247 (+672)

5,211 (+50)

1,468 (+3)

The above numbers are provided by the state Department of Health, and some numbers differ from the totals provided separately by county health agencies.

[NORECIRC]

This article originally appeared on the Gig Harbor Patch

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