Report: Overall plateau, possible decline in COVID-19 cases statewide

Sep 1, 2020, 5:05 AM | Updated: 11:20 am
COVID-19, plateau...
Deborah Trigueiro (R) visits her husband Douglas Smith, at the Life Care Center of Kirkland on Aug. 24, 2020, in Kirkland, Washington. This is only the second time they have seen each other in person since February when COVID-19 raced through the facility. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

There’s a bit of good news to be found in the latest situation report from the state Department of Health, as data from the Washington Disease Reporting System through Aug. 24 shows an “overall plateau and potentially slight decline” in the number of new cases of COVID-19 statewide.

Mortality from COVID-19 has also been mostly stable over the past three weeks in Washington, with an average of 10-15 deaths per day. If the state remains in its current pattern, the DOH reports that Washington will experience approximately 1,250-1,875 additional deaths by the end of 2020. When combined with the deaths that have already occurred, that could make COVID-19 a top five cause of death in the state this year.

The trends across the state are made up of a mix of patterns with some counties plateauing while others are decreasing, and some are still increasing. While the decrease is encouraging, it is “tempered,” the report states.

With recent outbreaks in Walla Walla County at a state penitentiary, in Whitman County among off-campus college students, and in Kitsap County at a hospital, the susceptibility to COVID-19 remains high. The data of these known outbreaks will be reflected in future reports due to a lag in reporting. As observed with previous outbreaks, they’re likely to lead to wider community spread.

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Limiting the size and frequency of gatherings, wearing masks, and keeping physical distance remains important in limiting the spread of transmission.

As for the effective reproductive numbers, which indicates how many people each infected person will infect, the rate in both Eastern and Western Washington has remained close to 1 since mid-July. Generally, a reproductive number at or below 1 indicates that the outbreak is starting to be under control. The steady position near 1 suggests that the prevalence of active infections has been fairly constant, though it varies by county.

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Report: Overall plateau, possible decline in COVID-19 cases statewide