The number of new coronavirus infections has held fairly steady over the past two weeks but continue to be considerably higher than at the end of the winter surge, even as more King County residents get access to limited supplies of the vaccine, King County officials said at a press conference Thursday.
King County averaged 294 new coronavirus cases each day for the past week, double what was reported at the beginning of March, said Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County. Infections have been increasing for all age groups except children below age 5 and adults above age 65, with the fastest jumps reported in people aged 18 to 24.
“We are at standoff with this virus currently,” Duchin said. “This is not the time to blink.”
Even as Washingtonians mark their calendars for April 15, the day everyone aged 16 and older in the state will be able to get vaccinated, the viral storm clouds on the horizon are growing darker.
In the last week, the average daily COVID case rate in King County alone has risen to 250 new cases per day, Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC) Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin told listeners in an April 2 press conference. This represents a 26% increase from the week before, and an 86% overall increase from the beginning of this most recent rise, which likely represents a fourth wave beginning, Duchin said.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
Spike in COVID Cases, Testing, and the Latest in Vaccines
COVID Spike Prompts Update to Rainier Beach COVID Testing & Vaccine Hub— Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last week that the City’s Rainier Beach and West Seattle COVID testing hubs — which recently began offering vaccines in addition to testing — would transition to vaccine-only hubs in the middle of this week, but data from Public Health — Seattle & King County revealed a spike in COVID cases in the county over the last two weeks. As a result, COVID testing at these sites will now be extended, says the City.
With Washington State entering Phase 3 and increasing COVID-19 cases — including brand-new variants of concern — both within King County and throughout the state, Public Health Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said that the proverbial ice Washingtonians are skating on is “beginning to crack a bit beneath us.” He predicted a fourth wave may now be beginning.
A year into a pandemic that has killed half a million people in the U.S. and magnified deep inequities in the country’s core institutions, it’s extraordinary that Vicky Navarro and Thyda Ros aren’t more exhausted.
A typical week might find Navarro crisscrossing King County with boxes of face masks and public health pamphlets in three different languages — English, Spanish, and Tagalog — while Ros plans a socially distanced dinner dropoff of deep-fried fish and green mango salad to a Khmer community elder. Then it’s off to the next webinar, the next worried call from a neighbor, the next social media rumor to bat down.
Every day, Lynda Greene and her fellow staffers at the SouthEast Seattle Senior Center field about 30–45 phone calls from community elders trying to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
Most of these callers are crying. Most of them are Black.
In early February, The Seattle Times published a report that provides a preliminary glimpse at who has had access to the first set of COVID vaccines that were doled out. As much as I want to tell myself that this is an incomplete picture and that the first set of vaccines is reflective of a strategy to inoculate first responders and medical personnel, I still feel that the preliminary rollout failed to address a key consideration. Namely, the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on people of color and economically marginalized folks.
Novel coronavirus vaccination efforts are ramping up in Washington State while hospitalization rates and deaths are declining statewide, but Washingtonians need to continue prevention strategies to keep the curve down and keep stress off the health care systems, Washington health officials said in an online briefing on Thursday.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) today announced that it, along with Public Health – Seattle & King County and the UW Medicine Virology Lab — have detected yet another novel coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2) variant in the state, in addition to the already-present B.1.1.7 variant. The new variant was detected in King County, the DOH said in a press release. At the same time, the DOH also announced on Tuesday that it has confirmed an additional 19 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the state.