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King County Dr. Jeff Duchin
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‘A very difficult time may be in store’ for King County as COVID risk rises

Dr. Jeff Duchin. (Getty Images)

A rise in COVID-19 cases across Washington state continues to alarm local health officials, including Seattle-King County Public Health’s Dr. Jeff Duchin.

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Duchin warned last week that a recent uptick in cases was “getting serious.” In the time since, four out of the last days with available data have seen triple-digit increases in daily COVID-19 cases in King County. Prior to the county entering into Phase 2 of reopening in June, the county’s daily increases would frequently come in below 50.

“COVID-19 risk is increasing,” Dr. Duchin said Monday. “Without significant long-term behavior change a very difficult time may be in store for us.”

To mitigate that risk, he recommends that “everyone should minimize activities,” as well as the “number, duration, and proximity of contacts.”

“Take distancing & ventilation seriously. Wear a mask. Wash hands often,” Duchin outlined, adding that “all workplaces, businesses, restaurants, pubs, recreation and other organizations must take all possible COVID-19 prevention and safety measures to protect their staff, customers and community.”

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The COVID-19 crisis has caused similar concerns at the state level recently, with Washington seeing its first single-day increase of over 1,000 confirmed cases between Sunday and Monday. Shortly after the Department of Health announced the increase, Gov. Inslee responded by noting, “this is not going away,” and emphasizing the continued need to wear a mask in public.

Steps have already been taken statewide to help curb the rise in new cases, including a mask mandate requiring all businesses to refuse service to customers not wearing a mask. That order went into effect Tuesday, July 7.

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