Colleges currently largest source of COVID-19 outbreaks in Washington
A recent report from the Washington Department of Health shows 10 COVID-19 outbreaks at colleges and universities in the state, making them the largest source of outbreaks this reporting period.
Overall, the state reports 67 outbreak locations in the week from September 27th to October 3rd.
An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory positive cases where at least two of the cases have symptom onset dates within 14 days of each other. Also, there must be “plausible epidemiological evidence of transmission in a shared location other than a household.”
Colleges nationwide have seen outbreaks since students returned to campus, even if classes are largely being held remotely. Washington State University brought in the National Guard to help with testing. Eastern Washington University has seen a huge spike in cases since students moved back to campus in mid-September. Whitworth and Gonzaga have seen outbreaks as well and are reporting those cases on university-specific dashboards.
An outbreak on the University of Washington’s Greek Row is making headlines in western Washington this week as well, with 238 cases reported as of Monday morning.
For the purposes of the report, health care settings have a different threshold for an outbreak to be considered.
The report does not define specific outbreak locations, but also lists six outbreaks under food service/restaurant and five under retail/grocery. Eight outbreaks are linked to correctional facilities. Three outbreaks are listed under K-12 schools.
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