It’s time for another installment of of our special series COVID-19 Update, bringing you the latest developments on the novel coronavirus outbreak that public health authorities here and across the country are working to mitigate.
The direction of the pandemic within the state has changed while the general outlook remains the same. King, Snohomish and Pierce counties still have the most cases, but now Franklin County has a tested positive rate of 28%, Yakima County 26%, Benton County 17%, and Grant County 11%.
(As a basis of comparison, King County is at 5.8%.)
Franklin County presently has one of the worst infection rates on the West Coast, while Yakima County now has more deaths confirmed from COVID-19 than Snohomish County, but the latter has dropped its reproduction rate below one due to an aggressive mask campaign.
As was put succinctly in a recent KUOW article, “The trend now is toward younger people, people in their 20’s and 30’s.
And as we’ve seen before, there are still racial disparities in who is getting COVID-19 in King County. Compared to white people, the rate of Covid cases is three times higher for Black people, five times higher for Latinx people, and six times higher for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.” King County’s numbers of infected are at their highest levels since April of this year.
With restrictions relaxed, more people are acting as if the pandemic doesn’t exist. And that has a very detrimental effect. A phase rollback for most counties within the state is under consideration, but at this time the current pause in reopening the state has been extended through July 28th.
Governor Inslee also, as of Monday, July 20th, will reduce the number of individuals allowed in social gatherings in Phase 3 Safe Start counties from fifty people to ten people. (Phase 2 Safe Start counties may continue to have social gatherings of up to five people.)
The municipality of Mountlake Terrace, using CARES Act funding from the Federal government, will be mailing two cloth masks to every address within its zip code. This is after having made available free cloth face masks to low-income residents at a drive through/walk up event on Monday, June 29th.
A number of municipalities, such as Bellevue have either implemented or are considering free mask pick-up programs for their residents, and these are after King County initiated a free PPE giveaway for small businesses starting July 1st.
The North Central Regional Library, which includes Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan counties, will be increasing their WiFi signal to make it more readily available for use outside of their libraries.
The three-day special legislative session in Salem, which completed on Friday, June 26th, provided a number of passed bills regarding responding to the pandemic. On Wednesday, July 8th, seven employees at a grocery store in Eugene tested positive for COVID-19. As of Sunday, July 12th, there were 60 active COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in Oregon.
On Monday, July 13th, Governor Kate Brown followed the lead of Washington state and required face masks in use for outdoor spaces if a person cannot stay outside of six feet from another person.
Oregon also announced a statewide limit of ten people in indoor social gatherings, but that they would not apply to businesses or to worship services.
Both announcements take effect on Wednesday, July 15th.
As in Washington state, while high-population counties such as Multnomah, Marion and Washington counties have the most cases, rural areas such as Umatilla, Union, Mahleur and Morrow counties have positive test rates of between 15% and 17% The Deschutes County Circuit Court is considering moving to the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond in order to provide adequate physical distancing while resolving court cases.
As of Monday, July 13th, the state had seven straight days of more than 400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 556 confirmed cases on Saturday, July 11th. This was followed by 316 confirmed cases on Tuesday, July 14th, 727 confirmed cases on Wednesday, July 15th and 688 cases on Thursday, July 16th.
The Central District Health’s board voted on Tuesday, July 14th, to mandate the wearing of face masks and coverings throughout Ada County, joining the city of Boise, which did so starting July 4th. On the same day, the Idaho Department of Correction reported that 40% of the inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Center at Kuna tested positive for COVID-19.
The effect of the pandemic on the provincial economy will be laid out sometime this week or next by Finance Minister Carole James, but how a $1.5 Billion CDN relief fund will be dispersed may not be made known until August.
A small outbreak over the Canada Day celebrations in Kelowna is being assessed and traced to minimize its impact. Nevertheless twenty-one new confirmed cases of COVID-19 happened between July 14th and 15th, and health authorities are concerned as the virus “silently circulates” within the broader community.
Washington state has had 44,559 cases and 1,432 attributable deaths.
753,174 people have been tested.
Oregon has had 13,510 cases and 249 attributable deaths.
318,244 people have been tested.
Idaho has had 13,133 cases and 114 attributable deaths.
139,481 people have been tested.
British Columbia has had 3,170 cases and 189 attributable deaths.
226,147 people have been tested.