0617 covid update

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are climbing again in Skagit County, causing county Public Health staff to express concern that moving to the next phase of reopening may be delayed.

“It looks ominous, honestly” said Howard Leibrand, the county’s health officer.

As of Tuesday morning, the county had seen 14 new cases of the disease since June 5 — the day it moved into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan.

Leibrand said the growth in cases puts the county at risk of exceeding the limit of 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period by the time the county is eligible to apply to move to Phase 3.

For Skagit County to apply for the next phase it would have to be below 32 new cases over the previous 14 days.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county, which had leveled out in the three weeks prior to moving to Phase 2, have grown from 50 to 54 over the past week.

“If these trends continue, we won’t be able to apply,” Leibrand said.

Inslee’s Safe Start plan for restarting the state’s economy works in phases, with counties applying to move through the four tiers.

Each county must spend at least three weeks in each phase, meaning Skagit County will first be able to apply for Phase 3 on June 26.

In Phase 3, people will be allowed to gather in groups of up to 50 — up from five in Phase 2 — according to the governor’s website.

Bars and bar seating in restaurants will be able to open for customers at 25% capacity. Restaurants will be allowed to fill 75% of their seats.

Gyms, public-facing government offices, libraries, theaters and museums can reopen at 50% capacity.

Leibrand said county residents are clearly weary of quarantine and social distancing, and it’s manifesting itself in these new cases.

“People are just tired of doing this,” he said. “I’m sorry, but (disregarding social distancing) is not going to make the virus go away.”

Rather, abiding by social distancing rules, always wearing a mask and practicing good hygiene will keep new cases low, he said. If people continue to go against public health recommendations, cases will continue to spike.

“The virus, not the governor, is going to punish that activity,” he said.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

(2) comments

Paintsforus

So the positive cases of Covid 19 went up by .00011%. The only way this is going away is to let it run its course. It's an extremely bad flu season but hiding in your house or behind an ineffective mask will not make it go away. We have never gone to these extremes for any other pandemic. Also, we do not have 54 people hospitalized, that is a total from the beginning. The media just wants to scare you.

Phillip-Hays

Face mask protects other people, not you. Mostly.

Covid-19 is the disease caused by virus called SARS-CoV-2. This is the second novel coronavirus of this century. SARS-CoV-1 was wiped out by isolation and case tracking over the period 2002 to 2004. It was both deadlier and less stealthy. We have won against virus diseases in the past, smallpox as well with a vaccine. New Zealand and Australia have won against SARS-CoV-2. We could win against as well.

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