Covid

Skagit County recorded its fourth straight day of double-digit new cases for COVID-19, according to the Skagit County Public Health.

Twenty cases were recorded on Saturday, pushing the total to 1,390. That follows increases of 20, 14 and 32 over the previous three days.

The number of hospitalizations rose by one, to 108. The number of deaths remained at 26.

Cases in Skagit County had increased significantly all week, putting the county into the state’s high-risk category.

Since Sunday, Nov. 1, 105 new cases of the virus had been reported by Saturday, according to data available on the county website.

Preliminary data shows the county as reporting 102.2 cases per 100,000 residents over the previous 14 days.

“In two days, we’re seeing more than we’d seen in two weeks before,” said county Health Officer Howard Leibrand. “This is not just some minor blip.”

When cases spike like this, he said it dramatically increases the chances that people will encounter others who are contagious, pushing the number of new cases even higher.

“Think of a semi (truck) coming down the pass and the brakes fail,” Leibrand said. “As soon as it gets out of hand, you don’t get it back.”

The best way to stay healthy is to limit exposure, he said. Guidelines indicate people should see no more than five people who live outside their household per week.

Several of these recent cases are from two Halloween parties, and Public Health is looking into more possible cases stemming from these events, Leibrand said.

The rise in cases in recent days prompted three Skagit County public school districts to pull back on plans to expand in-person education.

Leibrand said the decisions made by the school districts are wise.

“The numbers are rising at a rate that makes school risky,” he said.

After closing its drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Skagit Valley College on Thursday because of strong winds, the county reopened the site Friday, according to county spokesperson Laura Han.

Though Skagit County has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, it is still behind much of the rest of the state.

According to the most recent numbers on the state’s COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard, the statewide rate of new cases is 122.5 per 100,000 residents.

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