Washington state enters 4th COVID-19 surge, governor says

Washington state is entering its 4th COVID-19 wave, Gov. Jay Inslee said April 22, citing a significant increase in new infections and hospitalizations. 

The rolling seven-day average of new infections is currently around 1,300 per day, compared to 662 on March 11, reports The New York Times

"Our disease levels are where they were in early November," said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary for the state's COVID-19 Response, according to The Seattle Times. "The good news is the slope of the increase is not as steep as it was in November."

"Our case rates are increasing in all age groups except for those 70 and above," Umair Shah, MD, the state's health secretary, said April 21. "Our sharpest increase is in teens age 10 and above."

The more transmissible variant B.1.1.7, first identified in the United Kingdom, is now dominant in Washington, said Scott Lindquist, MD, acting state health officer. Officials have also reported a recent jump in P.1. variant cases, which was first identified in Brazil.

Currently, the state's data dashboard doesn't reflect a significant jump in COVID-19 deaths, though deaths tend to lag behind case and hospitalization patterns by about a month. Vaccination in older populations could also keep deaths down, even as cases increase.

More than a third of Washington residents have received at least one vaccine dose, though Dr. Shah said demand may be decreasing, noting that the state had many unfilled appointment slots.


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