Coronavirus Skagit

Gov. Jay Inslee released guidance Monday on new restrictions being placed on gyms and fitness centers.

The guidance shouldn't significantly change what gyms and health clubs in Skagit County are already doing, said Britt Pfaff-Dunton, environmental health specialist with the county.

"I don't really see radical changes," she said.

While smaller facilities have to give each person 300 square feet of space, facilities larger than 12,000 square feet will still be limited to 25% capacity.

Most facilities in the county are larger than 12,000 square feet, Pfaff-Dunton said.

In a news conference July 23, Inslee had said these businesses would be capped at five people per facility, but soon after decided to re-evaluate.

Meanwhile, as of Monday night Skagit County had 53 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, as well as four more hospitalizations and one more death. 

"The big problem still is almost exclusively family gatherings," said county Health Officer Howard Leibrand.

While he said more people are wearing masks when they shop or eat, the majority of new cases are coming from birthday parties or other large family events held on private property. 

"People are generally masking better in public, but they're not masking when they meet with their friends (and family)," Leibrand said. 

Since the start of the pandemic, 836 county residents have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Leibrand said one person recently diagnosed with COVID-19 in the county infected 29 other people after attending a series of family gatherings. 

Leibrand reminded residents to stay home as much as possible, and that masks are required whenever people are in close proximity, even at private gatherings. 

In Skagit County, through Tuesday 83 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 21 people have died. 

About one third of these deaths are attributable to an outbreak at the Mira Vista Care Center in Mount Vernon. 

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

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