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Bellevue modeler warns of ‘catastrophic outcomes’ with COVID-19 cases rising

Health workers in Harborview's COVID-19 ICU. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

With a “troubling” rise of COVID-19 cases in King County and across Washington state in recent weeks, public health officials are ringing the alarm for everyone to step up precautions heading into the holiday weekend.

Bellevue modelers warn of increasing COVID cases across Washington

This is laid out in the latest update from Bellevue’s Institute for Disease Modeling, which warns that if the state continues along its current path, the consequences could be dire.

“Continuing along this trajectory will lead to catastrophic outcomes for health and economic wellbeing in Washington,” the IDM cautioned, emphasizing the need for wearing masks in public, adhering to social distancing, testing upon exposure to the virus, and more.

King County officials spoke Thursday, calling on residents to rise to the challenge.

“We need to step up our COVID prevention game big time, in every aspect of our lives, in order to avoid going backward,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County public health officer.

Duchin also emphasized the importance of limiting close contacts, avoiding groups, keeping up hand hygiene, following physical distancing rules, and wearing masks. If you feel you must go out, he advised weighing the risk to your health, the health of your loved ones, and the health of your community, and know how to protect yourself.

“COVID-19 would love to meet your friends and family this Fourth of July weekend,” he said. “Don’t let it happen.”

What’s allowed as counties reopen in ‘Safe Start’ phases

Statewide, the IDM warns that “not only are cases rising in known hotstops, but transmission is now likely increasing in neighboring areas.” That had Secretary of Health John Wiesman announcing Thursday that he would be pausing all movement into the next phases of reopening for at least the next two weeks.

This means if your county is in Phase 2 — King, Kitsap, Pierce, Skagit, and Snohomish, for example — it’ll remain in Phase 2 until at least mid-July. There are now three counties in Phase 1, two counties in a modified version of Phase 1, 17 in Phase 2, and 17 in Phase 3, according to the state.

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