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Okanogan County
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Okanogan County now has the most COVID cases per capita in Washington

Okanogan County's COVID-19 outbreak has been escalating since late June. (Okanogan Emergency Management)

The epicenter of Washington’s COVID-19 outbreak has evidently moved north from Yakima, with the highest number of cases per capita in the state now found in Okanogan County.

Report: COVID transmission rate sees slight decline across Washington

According to the latest report from the state Department of Health, done in tandem with Bellevue’s Institute for Disease Modeling and Fred Hutchinson, Okanogan is seeing 892 cases per 100,000 residents. Despite being 26th in population among all Washington counties, Okanogan has the 14th-most COVID-19 cases at 755 as of Monday morning. The positivity rate in Okanogan County is 17.4%, well above the state’s average over all tests of 5.8%.

Early on in the state’s virus outbreak, the county’s seven-day average of new cases was close to 1, with less than 25 cases per every 100,000 residents through June 24. By July 18, that number had jumped to 32 cases for every 100,000 people.

The exact reason for Okanogan’s outbreak is unclear, although the DOH notes how it “reflects that susceptibility remains high and communities can experience explosive growth in a very short amount of time.”

Bellevue modeler warns of ‘catastrophic outcomes’ with cases rising

Across the rest of the state, daily new case counts have begun to either decrease or plateau in Benton, Franklin, Spokane, and Grant counties. King County has been “flat near the historical peak in daily cases for the past two weeks,” while cases in Pierce County have reached a new peak since the last report from the DOH. Yakima County, which had recently been the epicenter for Washington’s outbreak, has seen cases fall since June 8.

In the days ahead, the DOH expects the “COVID-19 burden to continue to grow” statewide.

“This is a reflection that community behavior and transmission reduction efforts are still insufficient to limit the continued growth of COVID-19 in Washington state,” the DOH’s report reads.

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