- Editor’s note: The Washington State Department of Health issued a report Friday evening, July 17, 2020, warning that the state is “in an explosive situation.”
Summary and highlights
“This situation report shows that Washington State as a whole is in an explosive situation. Transmission continues to increase or accelerate across most of Washington state and will continue to do so unless concrete steps are taken to stop the spread. All indicators of the extent of viral spread are higher than last week with the exception of Yakima. In both eastern and western Washington cases are increasing fastest among 20-29 year olds and are also growing in both younger and older age groups around them. There is no progress to zero; the level of daily new cases is substantially higher than the state’s previous peak in March.”
“Hospitalization rates are just starting to increase in western WA and continue to grow across all age groups in eastern WA. As transmission moves from younger adults into older more vulnerable populations, we expect new hospitalizations and eventually deaths to trend up across the state.”
Implications for public health practice
“Washington State is in the early stages of an exponential statewide outbreak that has zero chance of being reversed without changes to our collective behavior and policies to support that change. If current trends continue, we expect that schools will not be able to reopen safely in the fall. Further transmission control will require enhanced compliance with masking and distancing policies and further restricting gatherings that likely fuel virus spread. This is a matter of utmost urgency as we have seen from the beginning of the pandemic that measures enacted sooner have vastly greater efficacy.”
Click here for the full report.