Is the 'fall surge' starting in Washington? Data shows Covid case numbers rising at alarming rate

A sharp and concerning rise in Covid-19 cases in Western Washington has public health officials worried that the predicted "fall surge" is already here. 

According to the state Department of Health, case numbers in western Washington are near or above their previous peaks. Numbers in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties continue to trend "sharply upward," DOH said, mirroring the trends we're seeing nationwide. 

"These cases are climbing, not because of localized outbreaks, but because of widespread disease transmission," Health Secretary John Wiesman said. "A surge in cases right now could have very serious consequences for our healthcare system, local plans to open schools, the state’s economic recovery, and beyond.

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“When this happens, we place everyone, but particularly our elders, parents, grandparents and those with diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other chronic disease at great risk. ... However, all of us doing our part can turn this trend around," he continued. 

Health officials have warned for months that a fall surge is likely, as cooler weather will bring more people indoors. DOH noted that isolation fatigue is another contributing factor to rising cases. 

DOH is urging Washingtonians to take the following steps to help stop the spread: 

  • Wear a mask, even with people you see regularly and in your smallest social circles and anytime you are using shared transportation, including while in your own vehicle with other people.
  • Keeping gatherings small and hold them outside whenever possible.
  • Avoiding any social gatherings indoors, but if you must participate, wear a mask and ensure windows and doors are open to maximize ventilation.
  • Wash or sanitize hands often and don't touch your face.
  • Stay home if you’re sick or if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

“It’s time to flatten the curve again,” says Dr. Kathy Lofy, State Health Officer. “I’m optimistic we can get our kids in school, keep our businesses open, and control the spread of COVID-19 if everyone does their part.”