Face coverings again recommended for indoor public settings – Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington 2021-07-23 16:19:00 –

By Public Health – Seattle and King County Staff

Public Health – Seattle and King County recommend that residents of all counties over the age of 5 wear face covers in public indoor areas, regardless of vaccination status.

This additional layer of protection includes 300,000 children in King County who have not yet been vaccinated, and their immune system is weakened or suppressed.

“This virus will get better and better at finding unvaccinated people, and that’s what we see in recent data from King County,” said the Seattle and King County public. Dr. Jeff Duchin, a public health officer, said. Friday, July 23. “We want to put COVID-19 completely in the rear-view mirror. Vaccines significantly reduce the threat, but the spread of COVID-19 will continue to affect the community, especially for those who remain. It remains vulnerable to unvaccinated people, such as children under the age of 12 and those with weakened immunity. “

After a few weeks at some of the lowest levels of COVID-19 since last year, the number and magnitude of COVID-19 cases in King County began to increase again. The rise is not unexpected, as restrictions on activity have been relaxed, but the increasing number should encourage all vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals to take special precautions.

Cases, hospitalizations, and trends

COVID-19 has increased in King County since June 29, when the King County Indoor Mask Directive ended. At that time, public health reported an average of 61 new cases daily. Since then, our average daily number of cases has risen to 141, an increase of 130% in just three weeks.

Hospitalizations and mortality remain relatively low compared to past peaks, which is expected in counties with relatively high vaccination rates. However, the number of hospitalizations has increased recently. Over the past seven days, 45 people have been admitted to a King County hospital with COVID-19. This increased by 32% from the previous week, and hospitalization rates doubled from 1 in 100,000 per week to 2 in 100,000 per week on July 7. July 17th.

Many recent outbreaks occur in indoor environments where people are in long-term contact with each other, such as gyms and social gatherings. These outbreaks, like other populations reported nationally, have left unvaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals in contact with each other and in unobscured indoor public areas. includes. There are some examples of infection, even among vaccinated people who are working indoors in unmasked and poorly ventilated areas.

Vaccines are more important than ever

The best way to stop this increase is for everyone who is eligible for vaccination. The majority of recent cases, hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated residents. Over the last 30 days in King County, 94% of hospitalizations and 94% of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred among completely unvaccinated people.

The proportion of COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated people increased last month, but the proportion of illness among vaccinated people is lower than that of unvaccinated people. Between June 9th and July 6th, about 14% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 were completely vaccinated, compared to 86% who did not. The hospitalization rate is 34 times higher in unvaccinated residents than in vaccinated residents, and the COVID-19 mortality rate is higher in unvaccinated residents. It is 43 times higher than the resident.

The COVID-19 vaccine provides a very high level of protection against the most important thing: serious infections that involve hospitalization and death. There is no 100% effective vaccine, so it may be much less than unvaccinated people, but vaccinated people can develop COVID-19 and infect others. It’s not surprising to have sex. When vaccinated people become infected, their illness is usually mild and not serious. Unfortunately, the Delta variant may increase the risk of vaccinated people developing mild breakthrough infections compared to previous strains, but our vaccines still provide excellent protection. ..

The role of variants in the King County case

If you are infected with COVID-19 in King County today, you may be infected with a highly infectious virus variant. Of the recent COVID-19 test samples sequenced in King County, about 90% are mutants of concern, not the original strain of the virus, and about 60% of these are delta mutants. This is a concern as delta variants are highly contagious.

Why are the cases increasing?

Identifying exactly where people are exposed is complex. Contact tracers ask people who test positive for COVID-19 where they spent their time during the infection period. Comparing the last 30 days with the previous month, COVID-19 reports that people who attend social events (36% vs. 28%) and visit bars and restaurants (15% vs. 10%). The percentage is increasing. Traveled out of state (17% vs. 9%).

What should we do about it?

The most important way to protect yourself and your community is to get vaccinated. The vaccine provides strong protection against the original strain of COVID-19 and the variant of concern.

Wear a mask indoors in public

The growing numbers mean that even those who are fully vaccinated, we all need to consider taking special precautions, especially in indoor environments with others. Means. Unvaccinated people are now required and must continue to wear masks in public indoor spaces.

Washington already requires unvaccinated people to wear masks in public indoors, but in stores and other public spaces, who is vaccinated and who is vaccinated. There is no practical way to know if it isn’t. For this reason, universal masking in indoor public spaces provides a more reliable way to ensure that everyone is safer when monitoring an increasing trend of illness. ..

Masking in public can also help model people in close contact with high-risk people, wearing masks for children, and protect them from other respiratory illnesses and allergens.

In addition to masking, as a community, we now need to add as many layers of protection as possible.

• Airflow and ventilation are important variables indoors. COVID-19 accumulates in the air as infected people breathe, increasing the risk where people exercise, sing, and scream. Windows and doors should be opened when possible to maximize air movement. Buildings and business owners should consider upgrading their HVAC systems and air filtration. If possible, gather outdoors at a much lower risk.

• If you have mild symptoms, whether vaccinated or not, take a COVID test and isolate yourself from others while you wait for the results.

• If you have already been vaccinated, now is the time to talk to friends, family and colleagues who may be concerned. Help connect them with information To help answer their questions.

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