Washington Reports 611 Coronavirus Cases, Highest Daily Total Yet

Judith J. Mercado

SEATTLE, WA — Wednesday, state health officials confirmed seven new deaths linked to COVID-19 in Washington and 611 new confirmed cases of the disease. Though that is not the highest daily death toll Washington has seen, it is the highest number of new coronavirus cases the state has reported in […]

SEATTLE, WA — Wednesday, state health officials confirmed seven new deaths linked to COVID-19 in Washington and 611 new confirmed cases of the disease.

Though that is not the highest daily death toll Washington has seen, it is the highest number of new coronavirus cases the state has reported in a single day. On one hand, officials say it’s good that many of the new cases are not ending in deaths, but on the other, extra cases means extra opportunities for the virus to be transmitted to an elderly or high risk patient.

Health officials in both Pierce and King counties have recently gone on record to confirm that many of their new coronavirus cases have been in younger adults aged 20-39, and that they’re worried those young, more mobile adults may go on to spread the disease to vulnerable populations.

To prevent a surge in new deaths, health officials are urging everyone to treat the pandemic as seriously as the state did during total lockdown— or risk having the state go backwards through the Safe Start plan and shut down nonessential businesses once again.

Deaths Wednesday were reported in King, Pierce, Spokane and Yakima counties.

The new numbers mean a total of 33,435 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the state since the outbreak began, and 1,339 people have died.

A total of 571,964 Washingtonians have been tested for the coronavirus, meaning roughly 5.8 percent of tests come back positive. While case counts have been on the rise, the percentage of tests coming back positive has continued to drop. That’s a glimmer of good news: the state uses the percentage of positive tests as a gauge to determine if enough testing is available, and a lower percentage is better.

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Catch up on the latest developments:

Fourth of July coronavirus safety concerns

Earlier in the year, health officials found that a spike in new coronavirus cases could be linked to Memorial Day celebrations. Now, they’re worried the same could happen with the Fourth of July, which would be a disaster considering the state is already seeing a record high number of daily cases.

To prevent as many Fourth of July coronavirus infections as possible, the state Department of Health is offering up a few key safety tips:

  • Outdoor celebrations are safer than indoor ones. The coronavirus spreads very easily on high-touch surfaces. By celebrating outside, you can cut down on the number of surfaces and free up more space for physical distancing.

  • Small groups are safer than large groups. Group sizes are limited by Phase for a reason: counties in Phase 2 should only have groups of up to five people outside the home, and counties in Phase 3 can have groups of up to 50, but both phases ask everyone to continue to physically distance whenever possible.

  • Limiting time together is the safest option. Health officials say they don’t want to stop everyone from having a barbecue or other Fourth of July celebration, but consider keeping it shorter than other years to limit opportunities for transmissions.

  • If you feel even slightly sick, don’t meet up. This is no time to take risks with your health or the health of others.

  • Wash your hands, wear a facial covering when necessary, and practice good hygiene.

Finally, the state is also asking that residents limit their travel this Fourth of July weekend, to avoid potentially carrying the coronavirus from your home to other communities.

Related: Department Of Health: Limit Holiday Travel And Slow Coronavirus

Outbreak explodes at Washington state prison

There have now been 220 confirmed coronavirus infections at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Franklin County. That’s more than double the number of cases the state prison had last month, when it first restricted all movement inside its medium-security unit in an attempt to tamp down on infections.

The new cases were found after the Department of Corrections brought in the Washington National Guard to test all staff and inmates at the corrections center. The tests found that 171 inmates and 47 staff members had caught the virus. Two inmates at Coyote Ridge have died due to COVID-19.

Prison officials say that, since the outbreak began, they’ve introduced a number of new safety measures including requiring employees to take coronavirus tests before their shifts, and isolating inmates who have tested negative for the virus twice.

Read more: WA State Prison Reports 220 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

Safe Start proclamation extended

Wednesday Gov. Jay Inslee extended the Safe Start proclamation for one week. The extension means that the proclamation is set to expire on July 9, but will likely be modified or expanded further sometime early next week.

The Safe Start proclamation is the state’s overarching guidance on the coronavirus: it is what defines the four phases that each county is in, and which businesses can reopen in each phase and how. Inslee’s move to extend the proclamation keeps all the old restrictions in place, but adds one new one: businesses must now cooperate with public health authorities who are investigating coronavirus outbreaks or placing employees in quarantine or isolation.

Read the full proclamation from the governor here.

Coronavirus cases by county:

County

Confirmed Cases

Hospitalizations

Deaths

Adams

142 (+8)

9

0

Asotin

21

1

2

Benton

1,798 (+67)

229 (+8)

82

Chelan

347 (+17)

19

6

Clallam

36

3

0

Clark

749 (+18)

106

30

Columbia

8

2

0

Cowlitz

187 (+8)

20

0

Douglas

242 (+9)

12

3

Ferry

1

0

0

Franklin

1,697 (+57)

164 (+6)

33

Garfield

0

0

0

Grant

511

48 (+1)

6

Grays Harbor

26

8

0

Island

193 (+1)

33

12

Jefferson

38

8

0

King

10,304 (+127)

1,807 (+8)

612 (+2)

Kitsap

225 (+4)

32

2

Kittitas

131 (+3)

5

0

Klickitat

59

8

3

Lewis

68 (+3)

14

3

Lincoln

4

0

0

Mason

51 (+1)

5

1

Okanogan

85 (+8)

5

2

Pacific

17

2

1

Pend Orielle

4

0

0

Pierce

2,590 (+26)

417 (+1)

104 (+3)

San Juan

19

1

0

Skagit

527 (+8)

56

15

Skamania

5

2

0

Snohomish

3,535 (+27)

611 (+3)

171

Spokane

1,389 (+45)

134 (+5)

41 (+1)

Stevens

18

5

1

Thurston

261 (+8)

37

7

Wahkiakum

5

0

0

Walla Walla

170 (+4)

14

3

Whatcom

635 (+13)

57 (+1)

40

Whitman

38

1

0

Yakima

7,128 (+57)

522 (+6)

159 (+1)

Unassigned

171 (+93)

5 (+2)

0

Total

33,435

4,402

1,339

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

This article originally appeared on the Bonney Lake-Sumner Patch

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