Yakima County coronavirus cases continue to decline, though they are trending upward in many other places in the state, according to a weekly situation report from the state Department of Health.
Yakima County had 67 new cases on Saturday, the seventh straight day with cases under 100. That’s an improvement from earlier this summer, when daily case totals were frequently in triple digits.
A total of 10,503 people have had COVID-19 in Yakima County since mid-March, according to the Yakima Health District. An estimated 7.893 people have recovered.
Deaths remained at 196 on Saturday. A total of 26 people are hospitalized, with five intubated.
Friday’s statewide coronavirus situation report estimates a transmission number of 1.19 in Western Washington and 1.08 in Eastern Washington. The transmission number is an estimate of how many people each person with COVID-19 will infect, and the goal is to have it be as close to zero as possible. Having a number above 1 means the COVID-19 burden will continue to grow, the report said.
“Transmission reduction efforts are still insufficient to limit the continued growth of COVID-19,” Secretary of Health John Wiseman said in a statement. “This is why fewer, shorter, and safer interactions are crucial. Staying home is still safest, but if you go out, keep it quick, keep your distance from others, and wear a face covering.”
The report points to declining trends in Yakima County. Okanogan County now has the most cases per capita in Washington. Daily new case counts in other counties, including Benton, Franklin, Spokane and Grant, have seen decreases or plateaus, “which hopefully reflects improved adherence to masking and physical distancing guidelines,” DOH said in a news release. Delays in testing could also be at play, the report said.
Test positivity in Eastern Washington has been slowly decreasing, though it remains high at 14.6% and is over three times as high as in Western Washington at 4.2%. Test positivity has declined from more than 30% at peak to 15% in Yakima County.
Hospital admission trends may be slowing among all age groups in Eastern Washington and increasing in Western Washington, the report said. Both Eastern and Western Washington have recently reached a new peak in cases.
The report, which is released weekly, comes from the state DOH, the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington and the Microsoft AI for Health program.