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Jessie Swart wears a face mask as she walks along West Yakima Avenue on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in Yakima, Wash.

Mask use is way up in Yakima County, with the Yakima Health District’s most recent observations showing 95% of people wearing a face covering in public, the district announced Tuesday.

The first such study, conducted May 23-24, showed just 35% of people wearing face coverings. A follow-up study June 20-21 showed the rate had climbed to 65%.

The latest study, conducted July 11, represents observation of 1,263 people at 26 retail locations in Yakima County. It showed a lower rate of mask use among males at 93%, while females had a higher rate of 97%.

Weekly surveys on mask use are outlined in Yakima County’s “roadmap to recovery,” and its gradual move toward reopening more businesses during the pandemic.

The health district, in cooperation with business and community leaders, launched a “Mask up to open up” campaign in June to encourage mask use. Because of high case numbers and hospitalizations in June, Gov. Jay Inslee required masks be worn inside businesses in Yakima County on June 26, and expanded the order statewide in early July.

The number of new coronavirus cases each day, along with hospitalizations and the transmission rate, have decreased in Yakima County in July.

Case update

The Yakima Health District reported 87 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the total since mid-March to 8,763. Of those, 5,579 are considered to have recovered.

There were no new deaths reported Tuesday, keeping the total death toll at 174. Countywide hospitalization were down to 33 from 38 on Monday. Two of the hospitalized are intubated, the same number as Monday.

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