Daily case summary for King County. COURTESY GRAPHIC, Public Health – Seattle & King County

Daily case summary for King County. COURTESY GRAPHIC, Public Health – Seattle & King County

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

  • Tuesday, June 30, 2020 4:53pm
  • News

By Public Health Insider

Public Health – Seattle & King County

Two weeks of sharp increases in COVID-19 cases in King County points to a concerning sign that the community is moving in the wrong direction to contain the virus, according to a post Tuesday by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

The daily average number of cases has more than doubled in the past two weeks, from an average of 40 daily cases in mid-June to 87 daily cases the week of June 21.

Our target is to have about 39 cases or fewer per day. This is the number of cases that meets the statewide target of fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period. Currently, the rate in King County is 54 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Although an increase in cases with re-opening as people come into more contact with one another is expected, the rapid rise in cases is signaling that we need to take steps to limit further spread that could set back our re-opening.

Most of the increase is among younger people. Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39. Approximately 40% of cases in this age group over the past two weeks are among Seattle residents.

Because infections can spread from this predominantly younger group to older community members and people with underlying health conditions, we are closely tracking the healthcare system for increases in hospitalizations. At this time, we have not seen a corresponding increase in hospitalizations or deaths, but these events can take a few weeks longer to occur after infections increase.

“The recent increase in COVID-19 cases is very concerning. Increasing cases and risk for acquiring COVID-19 in our community threatens the hard-earned progress we made during the stay-at-home order. This virus is as smart as ever and we need to be as well – the risk from COVID-19 remains serious,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County. “Everyone, especially young adults, needs to double down on COVID-19 prevention in all aspects of our lives immediately, including in social, recreational, workplace and business settings to avoid a rebound in serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Contributing factors to the rise in cases

No single exposure site has been driving the increase. Information from case investigations has pointed to multiple potential ways young people may be exposed. The largest proportion of cases continue to be reported among household contacts, but infections are likely acquired in many community settings.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people getting tested for COVID-19. Testing to diagnose people with COVID-19 as soon as possible after symptoms develop is a very important step in reducing transmission.

In addition to increased transmission, increased testing may be turning up more cases that were previously unrecognized. Our testing capacity has approximately doubled since early June. In addition, at the beginning of the epidemic testing was only recommended for people whose symptoms were more severe. Now, testing is recommended for anyone with even mild COVID-like symptoms. With this change in criteria, we may be identifying cases in people who otherwise would not have met the threshold for testing, such as younger people with mild symptoms.

Slowing the spread

To turn around these troubling trends, we all need to understand that the risk from COVID-19 remains high and take prevention measures seriously – for the long term. Anything that increases the number of people we have contact with or the proximity or duration of contact increases the risk for infection.

• Continue to avoid close contact (keep at least 6 feet of distance), crowded settings and group gatherings and limit the duration of contact whenever possible.

• If you’re together with friends, hanging out outside is much better than being inside. And, even when outside, avoid close contact with non-household members.

• Wear a face mask in public spaces, including outside when distancing is not possible.

• People who are older and people who have underlying health conditions should continue to stay at home and limit contact with others as much as possible.

• If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and away from others and get tested as soon as possible.

Fourth of July weekend is coming, but COVID-19 won’t take a break for the holiday. The virus is as infectious as ever. Remember, we depend on one another to keep our community safe and stop the spread to our friends and family. Avoid close contact with others, keep your distance, and wear a mask.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Six injured in Kent shooting on West Hill

Five transported to Harborview Medical Center; two in critical condition

Federal Way teacher pleads not guilty to child rape charges

A Tacoma man pleaded not guilty to three charges of second-degree child… Continue reading

Kent School District task force targets hybrid learning model in fall

Students won’t return full-time to buildings; final plan still to be determined

Two men shot, injured in parking lot near Kent hookah bar | Update

Kent, SeaTac men hit by gunshots; police looking for suspect information

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/Pixabay.com
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo.
Renton finds code violation, issues Aug. 9 removal of Red Lion Hotel temporary shelter

County officials believe emergency health order will supersede city’s move.

Courtesy of Mountain View Fire and Rescue
Mountain View Fire and Rescue seeks levy on Aug. 4 primary ballot

Service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Most Read