Citing delta variant, King County urges indoor masks

The top public health official in Washington state’s most populous county is asking everyone to wear masks in indoor public spaces because of the rise of the COVID-19 delta variant — even if they have been vaccinated.

Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer at Public Health – Seattle & King County, made the recommendation on Friday.

Health officials said the number of COVID-19 cases and the size of outbreaks in the county have started to rise again.

Since June 29, when King County’s mask directive ended, there has been an uptick in cases.

According to Public Health, it reported an average of 61 new cases daily. And since then, the county’s average daily case count has gone up to 141, which is a 130% increase in just over three weeks.

Hospitalizations and deaths have remained low.

Washington state’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Scott Lindquist, is urging people to use common sense and try to not be in places with poor ventilation but is not issuing a statewide mask recommendation for vaccinated people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.