COVID-19 cases beginning to climb again in Washington state
Washington’s major population centers continue to see increases in COVID-19 cases, detailed in a Wednesday update from the state Department of Health.
State health officer Dr. Kathy Lofy says rates are starting to go down in Whitman County, as a recent outbreak among Washington State University students has begun to die down.
Dr. Lofy believes the recent caseload increase elsewhere is because people spent more time indoors during a recent run of smoky weather brought on by wildfires. Colder weather entering into the fall and winter months will continue to be a concern moving forward.
Despite increases in cases, Gov. Jay Inslee relaxed a handful of restrictions Tuesday, allowing restaurants to expand table capacity and serve alcohol until 11 p.m., and letting movie theaters open up at limited capacity for counties in Phase 2 and Phase 3. That decision was largely driven by positive gains in businesses complying with COVID guidelines laid out by the state.
In the days ahead, some outdoor youth sports will be allowed to resume as well, including soccer, softball, cross-country, tennis, flag football, and lacrosse.
As for rising case numbers, the main driver appears to be unsafe behavior in Washingtonians’ private lives.
“The things we’re particularly concerned about, especially now these days, are where people aren’t wearing their face coverings, and the things that people are doing where they’re letting their guard down, which often tends right now to be in many of our social environments and within our homes and family circles for folks outside our household,” Washington Secretary of Health John Weisman said.
“We’re asking everybody to wear their face masks, wash their hands, and watch their distance, and if we do those things, we can both balance our economy and our usual activities with protecting our health,” he added.