Did Spokane County have 451 new COVID cases Tuesday? No. But transmission is still very high

SPOKANE, Wash. — Anyone following Spokane County’s reporting of COVID-19 cases saw a huge spike Tuesday afternoon. But, the Spokane Regional Health District says the spike is due in part to the clearing of a backlog by the state.

Spokane County reported 451 cases Tuesday. That would be the most cases since January and the sixth-highest number since the pandemic began. The county also reported that 80 people are in the hospital with COVID-19 right now, which marks a huge increase from the day before.

There’s more to the story, though, than just the numbers.

The spike in Spokane is part of a statewide backlog in cases. The Washington Department of Health said 6,000 new cases would be reported Tuesday, clearing a backlog from July 30th.

Spokane Regional Health says that while the number of new cases Tuesday wasn’t quite as high as reported, it does represent a huge spike in cases recently, due in large part to the highly-contagious delta variant.

Statewide, the DOH says the variant makes up 76% of sequenced cases. The state of Washington also reports an average of 1,500 new cases each day and hospital occupancy at the highest levels this year. More than 600 people are in the hospital with COVID in Washington right now, which is 20% higher than the week before.

The positivity rate in the state is “climbing rapidly” in Washington, according to DOH. 5.5% of tests are positive right now, compared to a low of 2% just a month ago.

DOH and SRHD urge people to get vaccinated. The state says more than 94% of cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Washingtonians 12 and are in people who are not vaccinated.

“Higher vaccination rates across the state are needed to protect our communities,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah. “If there was ever a time to get vaccinated, it is now in the race against this variant.”

RELATED: WA Department of Health concerned over rise in cases and hospitalizations

RELATED: Washington hospitals ‘quite full’ amid COVID-19 case surge