Yakima County saw new cases of COVID-19 decline by 100 this week.
There were 765 new cases of the virus June 22 through 28, compared to 865 the week before. That’s a decline of about 14 new cases a day countywide, according to figures from the Yakima Health District.
Despite a spike of 204 new reported cases Thursday, the week also included three days below 100 — Tuesday (72), Wednesday (68) and Sunday (71). For the week, the county averaged 109.3 new cases a day.
The week before, the county averaged 123.6.
“While we are still in a worrisome situation, we are seeing recent trends demonstrating a plateau and in some cases the start of a decline — something we frankly haven’t seen before — which is good news, said YHD spokeswoman Lilian Bravo.
The county saw reports of new cases dip back into double digits Sunday with 71, while deaths remained at 136. That brings the total number of infections to 7,241, according to the health district’s website.
Of those who died, 132 were known to have underlying health conditions.
Hospitalizations increased by three Sunday to 52, with 14 patients on respirators.
The health district has been counting case since mid-March. Of the 7,241 infections, 3,772 had recovered as of Sunday, the health district reported.
The decline comes after the implementation of campaigns requiring people to mask up in public. Local businesses more than a week ago had embarked on a “Mask Up, Open Up” campaign encouraging everyone to wear a mask in public.
On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee’s order requiring the public to wear masks took effect, with Yakima County businesses being ordered not to serve customers who refused to mask up.
“The decline is likely due to a higher adherence to following the public health recommendations overall — including masking,” Bravo said.
Although masking is credited with much of the recent decline, Bravo urges the community to continue abiding by the other guidelines, such as maintaining 6 feet of distance from others while in public, washing your hands frequently and staying home unless going out is essential.
“We are cautiously optimistic and hope we can continue to see these trends as more community members double down and following the public health recommendations,” Bravo said Sunday. “It’s by all of us working together that we can change the trajectory of the disease in Yakima.”