Yakima County passed the 10,000 mark in total coronavirus cases Saturday as the state expanded its mask requirements.
Yakima Health District said an additional 126 people tested positive for the virus Saturday, bringing the total to 10,071 people who have been found to have the virus since mid-March.
The report said 7,305 people have recovered.
The current death toll in Yakima County is 191, seven more than Friday. Of those, all but 11 had existing health conditions.
Health officials say the number of people hospitalized remains at 28, with five of them on ventilators.
Expanded mask rules
Citing Yakima County’s experience with slowing coronavirus spread through increased mask use, the state implemented new rules expanding a statewide order mandating face masks Saturday.
Unveiled Thursday, the amended order requires people in motels, dormitories, condominiums, apartment buildings, assisted living facilities and mobile home parks to wear face masks anytime they enter a common area, including lobbies, elevators, hallways and laundry rooms.
The change also expands the outdoor requirement to non-public settings when people can’t maintain 6 feet of distance from those outside their household.
“Congregating indoors in groups outside your household members — like birthday, anniversary, and retirement parties; book clubs; and just to socialize and hang out — is one of the worst things we can do right now,” a news release from the state Department of Health said.
At Gov. Jay Inslee’s Thursday news conference, state Secretary of Health John Wiesman said the new restrictions were a necessary step to rein in a growing number of coronavirus cases statewide.
“What I do, what you do, what we all do in our lives make a difference,” Wiesman said. “We must prevent runaway growth with fewer, shorter and safer interactions, and limiting our interactions with others.”
He said Yakima County slowed its COVID-19 growth due to increased mask use. County health officials said 95% of people observed were wearing face masks.
“Yakima is proving that to us,” Wiesman said.
But Yakima County, which is still in a modified Phase 1 for reopening, must report 63 or fewer cases in a two-week period before it can move to the second phase.
“Many of us are tired and wish we could go back to living as we did before the pandemic,” Wiesman said. “That is not something we can do.”