COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations sharply increased over Christmas weekend in King County, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.
South King County has the highest rate of COVID-19 with over 10,000 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the dashboard.
Much of this increase can be attributed to the fast-spreading omicron variant, which is now the dominant strain in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Cases over the last seven days are up 195% compared to the previous week in King County. Hospitalizations are up 58% over the same time period, according to the King County dashboard. There have been 7,789 new COVID-19 cases since Dec. 23, according to the dashboard.
Deaths from COVID-19 have actually decreased in the last 14 days compared to the prior 14 days, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.
University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations (IHME) projects cases will only continue to rise in Washington for the next couple of months.
The IHME projects that by Feb. 3, 2022, daily infections will reach 38,000 in Washington alone. Under the best-case scenario, if 80% of the population wore masks as recommended, the IHME projects Washington will still reach 27,000 daily infections by Feb. 3, 2022.
Daily deaths are also projected to rise in the coming months, according to the IHME. The current projection suggests daily deaths in Washington will hit 15 by Feb. 22, 2022, unless at least 80% of the population wears masks appropriately.
Vaccines are expected to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths from the omicron variant. But breakthrough cases are likely, according to the CDC. Despite over 80% of King County residents being fully vaccinated, cases are likely to continue to rise.
The best way to stay safe during the rise in omicron cases is to wear a high-quality face mask, limit social gatherings, get vaccinated and test regularly, according to health officials.