Washington COVID-19 cases appear to be flattening — at dangerous level

Covid Variant

SEATTLE (AP) — The record levels of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization in Washington state that started in early to mid-July appears to be flattening — but at a dangerous level.

The state is still seeing its highest rates yet of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, again heightening pleas for vaccinations and masking, The Seattle Times reported. Officials said Wednesday the leveling of the epidemiological curves, though, is a welcome sight.

State epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist said that as of last week, the state was seeing a seven-day average of about 180 hospitalizations per day, compared to an average of about 195 hospital admissions per day at the end of August.

“We’re not sure this is going to (continue to) go in a downward direction now … but it is the first good piece of info we’ve had that we’re starting to see some downward trend,” Lindquist said.

While the new numbers are encouraging, he said he would be “very cautious” about getting hopes up. “We are not over this pandemic at all,” Lindquist added.

Even though infections and hospitalizations are beginning to plateau, they are at high levels. In early July, before the most recent surge, the state was averaging about 30 new hospitalizations and 350 new cases per day. As of last week, epidemiologists and health officials were counting an average of about 3,000 new cases per day.

Hospitals in the state, meanwhile, are canceling necessary surgeries and taking longer to deal with heart attacks and strokes because COVID patients are taking up so many beds.

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