King County coronavirus cases rising

A warning from King County’s top doctor says that cases of coronavirus are going up in the county. This is not a good sign as we enter cold and flu season.

“If we let it get away from us now, we may be in for a very dark time over the coming months,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin with Public Health — Seattle & King County.

He said cases in King County have been going up for the past 3 weeks. Just last week, the numbers were twice what they were in late September. According to Duchin, it’s not just because there’s more testing. He said there’s an increase in transmission, which means the county’s outbreak is growing again.

But he also said it’s not too late to turn things around.

“The potential for a significantly larger outbreak than we’ve yet seen is real but not inevitable,” Duchin added.

Ten percent of cases from last week are linked to the outbreak within the University of Washington’s Greek system. There are 223 confirmed cases among 6 fraternities and 10 sororities.

“That tells us this outbreak is large but not responsible for the increase we’re seeing in the county,” Duchin explained.

The rising numbers come as Gov. Jay Inslee eases restrictions for restaurants, movie theaters and youth sports in the state. The weather is also turning colder, forcing more folks indoors, where the virus thrives, sparking fears of a second wave.

KIRO 7 asked Duchin if he thinks it’s wise that the governor has eased restrictions with cases rising and as cold and flu season nears.

“Yeah, it’s an important question. We can do more if we do it safely,” Duchin answered.

That means staying vigilant, masking up and minimizing your social interactions.

“So it worries me, but I think we know what to do as a community. We did it in April and May,” said Duchin.

Even though some restrictions are easing, Duchin also said just because you can do an activity doesn’t mean you should do it. He reminds everyone that this virus is not going away any time soon.