New record number of COVID-19 cases reported in Washington state
OLYMPIA – Today the Washington State Department of Health is reporting 2,147 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily case count since the pandemic began. Just two weeks ago, we announced 1,000 new cases in a day for the first time since mid-summer. And, each day this week we have reported over 1,000 new cases per day. This rapid escalation is extremely alarming.
The fall surge, which is getting worse every day, has erased the notable progress that Washingtonians made this summer. A dozen counties (including the five largest) are seeing steep increases in cases and they’re following a troubling nationwide trend.
Just yesterday, Governor Jay Inslee and First Lady Trudi Inslee addressed the state, imploring people not to have social gatherings of any kind with people outside their immediate households or gather for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now, new guidance around essential travel released this morning outlines what must be done to help get the spread of this virus under control as we approach the holiday season.
“The collective choices each of us are making every day have an enormous impact on the spread of COVID-19. We all must re-evaluate our plans for the upcoming holidays and everyday life. As community rates go up, the risk posed by social gatherings increases as well,” said Deputy Secretary of Health for COVID-19 Response Lacy Fehrenbach. “The only way to slow the spread is for us all to recommit to the actions we know work. We have flattened our curve twice before, and it’s time to do it again.”
“We all must take immediate action if we want to avoid overwhelming our hospital systems.” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “And we must take action now to save lives—lives of the people we care for and love.”
Anyone with symptoms or close contact with someone who has COVID-19 needs to get tested to help slow this current surge. Now more than ever it’s important to have a plan for testing in place in case you develop symptoms or come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. DOH has created a comprehensive list of testing locations here. People who want a test should also check with their healthcare providers for availability. For more information about testing, visit doh.wa.gov/testing.
As the holidays approach, everyone should take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Limit in-person gatherings as much as possible. Do not gather indoors with people outside your household. Gather outside and keep your distance if you are going to socialize with just a few people.
- Always wear a face covering when you’re around people who don’t live with you. This includes close friends and family. It may feel awkward to do this around people we know well and trust, but many people get COVID-19 from someone who doesn’t have symptoms yet. Even if you’re keeping some physical distance, it’s still a good idea to wear a face covering.
- Talk to your family and friends about alternate ways to celebrate the holidays. Brainstorm ideas for virtual celebrations so you can still enjoy spending time together without putting each other at risk.
- Stay home if you’re sick or have been exposed to COVID-19. If you’re feeling a little under the weather but aren’t sure if you’re getting sick, take the cautious approach and protect others by staying home. Seek out testing for COVID.
- Keep up your good hygiene habits. Wash or sanitize your hands often and avoid touching your face.
COVID-19 is a serious disease, and even young and healthy people can experience severe illness and lingering symptoms. You can read more about one Washingtonian’s firsthand experience on the DOH blog.