Stock photo

Stock photo

Delta variant drives dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases across state

Hospital capacity fills up due to increase

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are accelerating across the state of Washington, demonstrating the delta variant’s potential to unravel the state’s hard-fought progress toward recovery.

Unvaccinated people are being hit hardest, and public health officials continue to urge everyone who has not gotten fully vaccinated to do so immediately, according to an Aug. 13 state Department of Health news release.

Now is also the time to redouble efforts around the key behaviors that keep the virus from spreading, according to state health officials. All people should:

• Wear a mask, watch distance, wash hands often, carry hand sanitizer, and enable WA Notify on phones

• Keep gatherings small and outside whenever possible, and avoid any large outdoor gatherings like concerts, fairs or festivals

• Stay home if sick or exposed to COVID-19, and get tested if they have symptoms

“We are extremely concerned by this increased spike in cases, driven by the delta variant, spreading like wildfire amongst men, women, and children,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, state secretary of health. “Vaccination the best tool we have in this pandemic, but we also recommend that individuals mask indoors, and avoid large, crowded settings vaccinated or not. We need to use all the tools we have to reduce the ongoing spread of this virus in our community and to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Case rates are rising across all age groups because of widespread disease transmission. Within the last 30 days, the majority of counties have seen substantial increases:

• Only seven counties (Kittitas, Okanogan, Ferry, Klickitat, Walla Walla, Jefferson, Garfield, Grays Harbor) have seen cases increase less than 100% .

• 12 counties (Adams, Thurston, Snohomish, Benton, Skamania, Whatcom, Skagit, Kitsap, Yakima, Cowlitz, Mason, Grant) have seen cases increase between 100-299%.

• 10 counties (Clallam, Stevens, Asotin, Whitman, Franklin, Spokane, King, Clark, Lewis, Pierce) have seen cases increase between 300-599%.

• Six counties (Pend Oreille, Douglas, Lincoln, Pacific, Chelan, Island) have seen cases increase more than 600%.

• Columbia, San Juan and Wahkiakum counties have among the fewest cases.

Prevalence is approaching levels last seen in the winter 2020 surge, which means a lot of people are currently infected and may be spreading the virus. As of July 30, one in 172 Washington residents was estimated to have an active COVID-19 infection.

Strain on hospitals

• Expected increases in summer hospital occupancy coupled with a sharp increase in non-COVID-19 patients who are arriving at hospitals sicker and staying longer

• Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities are experiencing staffing challenges that decrease the number of available beds.

• COVID-19 related hospital admissions reached November 2020 levels as of Aug. 8 based on data reported by hospitals. COVID-19 admission rates are increasing in all 18+ age groups.

• COVID-19 related hospital occupancy and ICU occupancy are skyrocketing, and many regional hospitals are at or near full capacity. This rapid increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations is further limiting hospital capacity.

• As of late July, about 95% of COVID-19 cases who were hospitalized since February were not fully vaccinated.

• Health care facilities report an increasing numbers of workers who have tested positive for COVID-19. This will further impact hospital staffing challenges.

The state is now seeing daily case counts in the 3,000 range for the first time since the winter surge. DOH is also reporting 24 new deaths on Aug. 13, which is a significant increase from weeks past.

“Vaccination progress is continuing, but not fast enough,” said Secretary Shah. “If you are unvaccinated and continue to have questions, we encourage you to speak to a trusted health care provider.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

t
More than 129,000 kids in state receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

During first month of eligibility for those ages 5 to 11; expects to slow spread, protect children

Keith Wagoner
Senator becomes first GOP candidate for secretary of state

Sen. Keith Wagoner will challenge Democrat Steve Hobbs, who was appointed to the statewide post in November

t
Task force recommends reforms to improve state’s response to sexual assault

Recommendations include addressing shortage of sexual assault trauma nurses

File photo
As new COVID-19 variant looms, vaccination disparities linger in King County

County data shows gaps among age, geography and race.

tsr
King County Courthouse comfort dog dies

King County’s first Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) courthouse comfort dog has died,… Continue reading

Example of what it can look like when you replace a grass lawn with native plants. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
Tired of mowing the lawn? Consider using native plants

Replacing your lawn with Northwest vegetation can be beneficial to homeowners and wildlife alike.

Stock photo
Seattle-area pair indicted for defrauding COVID-19 benefit programs

Amount exceeds $1 million; including $500,000 from state Employment Security Department

Sen. Steve Hobbs. File photo
Sen. Steve Hobbs named secretary of state

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed the Snohomish County Democrat to succeed departing Republican Kim Wyman.

Stock photo
Children ages 5 to 11 eligible for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

State DOH officials say pediatric vaccine will help protect children, slow disease spread

Left: Dow Constantine, Right: Joe Nguyen (screenshot from King County website)
Constantine leads in vote count for King County Executive

Incumbent Dow Constantine is challenged by State Sen. Joe Nguyen.

t
Sound Transit hires new chief communications officer

Andy Izquierdo left Waste Management to join agency; will make $290,000 per year

File photo.
Global health experts weigh-in on putting the pandemic behind us

Pharmaceutical companies will have to waive patent rights to address vaccine disparities, they say.