King County COVID cases finally trending down, but ‘we’re not out of the woods yet’

Jan 18, 2022, 2:16 PM
King County COVID...
A COVID-19 test site in Renton. (Seattle-King County Public Health)
(Seattle-King County Public Health)

After soaring to record numbers in January, COVID-19 cases in King County appear to finally be trending downward.

King County COVID cases soar by nearly 200% over holiday weekend

The latest update from Seattle-King County Public Health indicates that cases have been decreasing since Jan. 10, having declined 20% over the seven-day period ending on Jan. 14.

That’s a trend King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin describes as “very good to see,” noting that it’s “possible” hospitalizations are beginning to plateau as well. As that continues, he believes that subsequent declines will be sizable.

“I’m pretty confident that just as we had record-breaking (numbers) of cases and hospitalizations going up, we’ll have large numbers going down,” he said Tuesday on Twitter.

Duchin also qualified that by noting how “hospitalizations and deaths lag cases by weeks,” meaning that “we’re not out of the woods yet,” and that people should “continue all current precautions.”

King County omicron surge ‘likely to get more difficult’ before situation improves

Staffing difficulties experienced by hospitals, schools, and other services across the region are likely to persist in the near-term as well.

“Expect absenteeism impacting healthcare and other critical services to continue for several weeks,” he warned.

The omicron-fueled COVID surge saw seven-day daily averages for case numbers peak at over 6,200 on Jan. 8, roughly 17 times what King County saw during its delta variant surge in August of 2021. Hospitalizations saw a similar increase, peaking at an average of 68 per day, compared to the average of 15 the county saw in August.

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King County COVID cases finally trending down, but ‘we’re not out of the woods yet’