Cases of COVID-19 have been increasing across the country and in Washington state in what is being labeled as the fifth wave of the pandemic.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, as of Aug. 5, the seven day rolling average for COVID-19 cases was 1,527, roughly where it was last November. Hospitalizations are also high, with a seven day rolling average of 73.
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As of Aug. 5, initial numbers from the Department of Health indicate that 8.2% of hospital beds in Washington state were filled with COVID-19 patients, placing it roughly on par with the last wave from April to June 2021.
This surge is being largely driven by the delta variant, a more infectious mutation of the original COVID-19 virus. Cases across the U.S. exceeded 100,000 per day on Saturday — a benchmark that was last hit during the 2020 winter surge.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 488,640 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state. This resulted in 27,461 hospitalizations and 6,168 deaths.
Vaccines initially became available last December for health care workers, before ultimately being offered to everyone 12 and older. So far 58% of Washington residents have gotten at least one shot, while 53% of people have been fully vaccinated.
During the peak of the vaccination push, tens of thousands of Washingtonians were getting vaccinated every day, but rates have been declining since hitting a peak in April. On April 16, the Department of Health recorded 91,577 vaccines administered. As of July 30, the last day when complete data is available, only 9,827 doses were given.
Washington state recommends fully vaccinated people consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings. Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people are required to wear masks in public indoor spaces.