FILE — Clayton Powell, left, Peter Williams, and Simon Verduzco, patient service coordinators with Signal Health, prepare for the next motorist at a COVID-19 community testing site at State Fair Park in Yakima, Wash., Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

The Yakima Health District reported 82 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths Tuesday in Yakima County, continuing an upward trend that began last month and has accelerated over the past week.

Though the county is still far below its June peak, when the per-day average hit 150 cases, it has not been spared as COVID cases have spiked statewide. The county’s average was down to 38 new cases per day by mid-August. Over the past seven days, though, the county has reported 454 new cases for an average of 64.9 per day. That includes 132 cases reported Friday, a recent high-water mark that Ryan Ibach, the health district’s chief operating officer, suspects stemmed from Halloween occurring 13 days prior.

That anomaly aside, the larger trend has been driven by a much more mundane culprit, Ibach said.

“The big thing we’re seeing is the social gatherings,” he said. “People are having social gatherings where they aren’t wearing masks and aren’t social distancing.”

Fearing an increase in hospitalizations that could test local capacity, health officials sounded the alarm earlier this month. On Sunday Gov. Jay Inslee announced sweeping new restrictions in an effort to curb COVID’s accelerating spread throughout Washington. That day the state set a new single-day record for cases. It broke that record Tuesday, recording 2,589 new cases.

Locally, the Yakima Health District noted an increase in positivity rates from 7.4% the week of Oct. 20-26 to 12.3% for the week of Nov. 10-16. The running total of Yakima County cases is 13,844 since the health district started keeping track in March.

Another three deaths were reported Tuesday, bringing that total to 254.

There were 15 people hospitalized, up one from Monday. Two were intubated, down one from Monday. And 22 more people have now met the criteria to be considered recovered, bringing that total to 12,375.

Reach Pat Muir at pmuir@yakimaherald.com.