The rise in COVID-19 cases is flattening in most Washington state counties, but we need to stay cautious, the state Department of Health said Friday.
“While this is encouraging news and a sign of our collective efforts, we must not let our guard down,” Secretary of Health John Wiesman said in a press release. “Plateauing is not enough to keep this pandemic under control; we must transition to a state of sustained decline in new cases. It remains critical that we continue to stay home when possible, keep interactions with others brief and wear face coverings.”
The latest weekly report estimated the number of new people each patient will infect — which is called the reproductive number — was 0.79 to 1.15 July 26 in Western Washington. Their best estimate is that it was 0.97.
“The goal is a reproductive number well below one, which would mean the number of people getting COVID-19 is declining,” the DOH press release said.
The reproductive number was estimated between 0.82 and 1.13 July 25 in Eastern Washington. Their best estimate is that it was 0.98.
“We’re starting to see the impacts of people using face coverings across the state,” the release said. “This report suggests that reductions in the reproductive number are attributable to statewide policy changes like the June 23 and July 7 mask mandates and pausing county movement with the Safe Start plan.”
In King and Yakima counties, the counties with the most cases since the outbreak began, cases are plateauing or declining in different age groups, and Pierce County cases might be going down “after alarmingly high growth in June and July,” the release said.
Cases were going down in the 39-and-younger population in Spokane County, but the report said they’re going up after an increase in people 40 and older.