COVID-19 cases rising in much of western Washington

VIDEO: COVID-19 cases rising in much of western Washington

Coronavirus cases are rising in most of western Washington among all age groups.

State health officials on Wednesday said hospitalizations might also be slowly increasing.

“I think people have been relaxing a little too much,” said Sally Ramirez, outside a Seattle pharmacy.

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This comes as two risks approach: the flu season and Halloween.

In Whatcom County, one of the few places in western Washington where case counts are declining, the health department is concerned about a spike after Halloween.

“We encourage folks to avoid higher-risk activities like Halloween parties or door-to-door trick-or-treating,” said Erika Lautenbach, of the Whatcom County Health Department.

To help people think through gatherings during holidays and game days, the state’s health department launched a new website with suggestions on how to plan gatherings and talk about COVID-19 prevention with friends and family.

“We’re facing difficult choices — like how to see our family and friends and stay as safe as possible,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, the state’s assistant secretary of health.

Those choices could become more difficult as the winter holidays approach.

For now, health officials are urging everyone to get their flu shot soon because people with the flu are more vulnerable to COVID-19 symptoms.

“Those together form a dangerous combination,” Lautenbach said.