‘This is bad news for us’: Gov. Inslee expresses concerns over beginning of fourth wave
Gov. Jay Inslee acknowledged that Washington now appears to be entering into a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, urging residents to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Health officials have been issuing warnings concerning a possible fourth wave for weeks now, with case rates and hospitalizations rising precipitously across Washington.
“I wish it was otherwise,” Inslee said in a news conference Thursday. “The situation is we’d like to be done with the virus, but the virus is not done with us.”
“We know that (cases are) not as high as they have been, but we’re headed in that direction, and that is simply too dangerous to persist,” he added.
The governor laid out a variety of factors that have likely fueled the state’s latest surge, including large, unmasked indoor gatherings, and the increasing presence of more-infectious variant strains, that now make up “well over 50% of our total load” in Washington.
“This is bad news for us,” Inslee warned.
Demographically, case rates have risen the most in the 20 to 59-year-old age group. What’s perhaps more concerning, Inslee noted, is that younger Washingtonians are comprising the bulk of new hospitalizations.
Even while the instances of deaths among those hospitalizations is lower than we saw in previous waves, the state is still seeing “significant, prolonged illnesses.”
Meanwhile, many parts of Washington have begun to experience significant levels of vaccine hesitancy. According to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center’s Dr. Dan Getz, areas like Spokane have filled “less than half of available appointments.”
“I never dreamed we’d get to a point where we’d have the key to solving this, and we’d be slow to recovery because people are scared of taking something that’s clearly shown to be safe,” Dr. Getz said.
Inslee closed by emphasizing the need for Washingtonians of all ages to get vaccinated, using the state’s vaccine locator tool at this link.
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