COVID-19 risk still high despite decreases, plateaus across the state, DOH says

Covid Coronavirus

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A situation report from the Washington State Department of Health shows that COVID-19 risk is still high, though infections are slowly decreasing statewide.

According to the report, the reproductive number—an average of how many people a COVID-19 patient will infect—is now close to one across the entire state. As of August 29, western Washington’s reproductive number is around 1.07, and Eastern Washington’s is .94.

This means a patient is transmitting the virus, on average, to only one other person in the course of their infection.

The DOH is aiming for a reproductive number well below 1.

Case counts, additionally, are declining in western Washington and plateauing in Eastern Washington. The DOH notes that decreases have flattened in Spokane, Benton, Franklin and Grant counties, and cases are increasing in Adams and Whitman counties.

Most notably, an outbreak in Pullman along Washington State University’s Greek Row is fueling the increase in COVID-19 cases in Eastern Washington.

RELATED: National Guard to be deployed to WSU as COVID-19 cases rise in Pullman

The DOH says the transmission of the virus now predominantly affects age groups 0-17, 18-24 and 25-39 year olds.

“While we continue to see some encouraging declines in case counts, it is clear we cannot let our guard down,” said Secretary of Health, John Wiesman. “The counties where we are seeing plateaus or increases in case counts illustrate the continued importance of limiting the size and frequency of our in-person gatherings, wearing face coverings and staying home when we are sick. We must all consistently take these steps in order to safely reopen schools and protect our communities.”

Despite the improvements over the last six months of quarantine, DOH notes that an outbreak can quickly topple those efforts and spread through a community, as the vast majority of people do not have an immunity to the coronavirus.