COVID-19 cases up across Washington state

SEATTLE — The state Department of Health said that COVID-19 cases appear to be increasingly sharply statewide in the most recent data.

The flat and declining case count trends in mid-to-late December may be due to fewer people seeking care or getting tested over the holidays, officials said Wednesday in a news release.

Officials said many counties have had post-Christmas spikes in cases and the number of people becoming infected is rising.

“We are continuing to see flat trends at a high level of disease activity, with signs of a concerning uptick in the most recent data,” Dr. Scott Lindquist, the state epidemiologist for communicable diseases, said. “If we want to maintain the progress we made in the fall and move forward with reopening, we must redouble our efforts to control the virus.”

Officials also said Wednesday that, statewide, vaccinations will increase. Unlike Clallam and Jefferson counties, many counties have yet to begin inoculating people aged 70 years and older, among others, The Seattle Times reported.

Health secretary Dr. Umair Shah acknowledged the state’s rollout had been uneven and that the department needed to hasten the pace of vaccination.

The state Department of Health on Wednesday reported 2,892 new COVID-19 cases and 49 new deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 281,202 cases and 3,838 deaths. The agency said new cases may include up to 520 duplicates.

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