COVID-19 cases rate increasing in Washington state

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The rate of COVID-19 cases is rising in Washington.

The statewide average of cases over the past seven days is 228 per 100,000 people, keeping Washington in the state Department of Health’s highest-risk category for the spread of COVID-19, The Spokesman-Review said Saturday.

Epidemiological curves show the number is still climbing, the newspaper reported.

Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday the best projections from health officials show there is likely to be a plateau in the relatively near future.

The most recent statewide data, complete through the week of May 11, shows the average percent in the last week of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is still at one of its lowest points in the pandemic, at about 6%. But it is increasing. At its peak in January, that number was almost 32%.

Inslee on Friday issued updated guidance for vaccine requirements for state employees, lifting the requirement for outdoor volunteers and contractors whose work does not involve delivery of health care services. Those can include landscapers, wildland firefighters and construction workers.

The vaccine requirement for all other state employees remains in effect, and Inslee on Wednesday said he would not be lifting it anytime soon.

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