Submitted by the Washington Department of Health
The Washington State Department of Health released the latest statewide situation report on Aug. 14, which reflects the flattening of new case counts in most counties in western and eastern Washington.
The reproductive number is hovering around one. The best estimate of the reproductive number (the estimated number of new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) in western WA was likely between 0.79 and 1.15 on July 26, with a best estimate of 0.97. In Eastern Washington, the best estimate on July 25 was likely between 0.82 and 1.13, with a best estimate of 0.98. The goal is a reproductive number well below one, which would mean the number of people getting COVID-19 is declining.
The impacts of people using face coverings across the state are beginning to show. This report suggests that reductions in the reproductive number are attributable to statewide policy changes like the June 23 and July 7 mask mandates and pausing county movement with the Safe Start plan.
Case counts are plateauing or declining across age groups in King and Yakima counties. Pierce County case counts may be starting to decline after alarmingly high growth in June and July. Spokane County cases started to decline in 0-39-year-olds, but are on the rise again due to a sharp uptick in the 40-69 and 70-plus age groups.
“While this is encouraging news and a sign of our collective efforts, we must not let our guard down,” Secretary of Health John Wiesman said. “Plateauing is not enough to keep this pandemic under control; we must transition to a state of [a] sustained decline in new cases. It remains critical that we continue to stay home when possible, keep interactions with others brief and wear face coverings.”
DOH partners with the Institute for Disease Modeling, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington and the Microsoft AI for Health program to develop this weekly report. More COVID-19 data can be found on the DOH website and in the state’s risk assessment dashboard.