Pullman police start issuing tickets for parties as COVID outbreak escalates
Pullman, Washington now has the sixth highest rate of new COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks in the entire country.
Pullman currently is seeing 5.9 new cases for every 1,000 people, leading local police to step up enforcement policies.
As of mid-August, Pullman police have been enforcing violations of the statewide mask mandate, punishable as a gross misdemeanor by a fine up to $5,000 and/or a year in jail. Police also began issuing tickets for parties and large gatherings, which have increased in frequency since Washington State University students started returning to the area.
According to the school, “the latest increase in COVID-19 cases in Whitman County has been primarily traced by authorities to off-campus gatherings in privately-owned housing in the Greek Row area.” WSU has also warned students that they could face disciplinary action if they’re caught gathering in large groups.
Last weekend, Pullman police issued five $250 infractions for parties, including one with roughly 35 people in attendance. Four of those parties occurred on College Hill. A second violation would result in a subsequent $350 ticket.
Pullman’s recent issues have seen 55% of Whitman County’s total COVID-19 cases occur in just the last week, a majority of which have been among young people. As of Tuesday, the county has 559 documented COVID-19 cases. Of the 50 most recent cases tracked in the last day, 36 have been people between the ages of 0 and 19.
This comes during a period of plateaus and declines in cases in other parts of Washington. That being so, with recent outbreaks in Whitman County, at a state penitentiary in Walla Walla County, and at a hospital in Kitsap County, the susceptibility to COVID-19 remains high. Due to a lag in reporting, the data of these known outbreaks will be reflected in future reports. As observed with previous outbreaks, they’re likely to lead to wider community spread.
Limiting the size and frequency of gatherings, wearing masks, and keeping physical distance remains important in limiting the spread of transmission.