COVID case numbers tick back up in King County, but ‘positive trends’ persist
After two months on the decline, King and Snohomish Counties’ coronavirus numbers are going up. The slight uptick is concurrent with reports that the omicron subvariant has become the dominant COVID strain in Washington state.
Omicron subvariant goes from 7% to 25% of local cases within a week
King County health trackers say cases have jumped 26% in the past week. Hospitalizations are climbing there as well, but death rates continue to drop. The increases come a little more than two weeks after our state’s indoor mask mandate ended.
“The first and foremost important thing is the fact that overall, [we are] continuing to see positive trends in our state, which remain … continuing good news for all of us,” the state’s Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said Wednesday.
“Cases are similar to the low point of 2021. This is progress, things are absolutely better, but we continue to monitor the situation as per our WAForward plan.” @WaHealthSec #mediabriefing #COVID19
— WA Dept. of Health (@WADeptHealth) March 30, 2022
Dr. Shah noted that the subvariant of omicron, BA.2, has become the dominant strain of COVID in the U.S. and in the state of Washington.
“The data are not showing that it is impacting hospitalizations as of yet. While overall the cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease, the proportionality of BA.2 … has increased. I think that’s an important message,” the health secretary continued.
“We [recognize] how it’s playing out in other parts of the country and the globe. Hospitalizations are similar to the low point in the summer of 2021.”
As for how the uptick in the omicron subvariant affects public health policy and safety precautions, the DOH is recommending a second booster dose for the immunocompromised.
“There’s not data to show that giving people a second booster or fourth dose nationally, to everybody who’s eligible for any vaccination, would necessarily be something that’s necessary to deal with omicron,” Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, told KIRO Newsradio. “Based on some data from Israel, as well as some data from clinical trials that have been conducted by Pfizer and Moderna, it does look like for people who are at higher risk of developing severe COVID, that a fourth shot does provide an additional benefit, especially in terms of protecting against mortality and hospitalization.”
“It’s not as big of a benefit as the third shot compared to having two doses, but it does provide some extra protection,” she added.