COVID-19 cases rising in parts of Puget Sound region

VIDEO: COVID-19 cases rising in parts of Puget Sound region

COVID-19 cases are rising in Pierce County, which on Thursday reported 96 new cases, the highest one-day count in two months.

On Friday, the county’s health director said if this trend continues for two weeks, Pierce County schools that now meet in person will have to return to fully remote learning on October 26.

Pierce County saw previous spikes in April and again this summer.

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“It looks like we’re headed for a third surge, or peak, whatever you want to call it, and that’s very concerning for us and obviously we’re disappointed,” said Dr. Anthony Chen, Director of Health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Also significant are the number of businesses reporting new infections among employees.

Pierce County had few employee infections at the beginning of the pandemic, but health officials worked with 27 businesses on Thursday alone.

The workplaces reporting infections include five schools, five medical and dental clinics, and two churches.

“When the disease transmission is high in the community, it gets everywhere, it gets into the businesses,” Dr. Chen said.

To the north, Skagit County’s health officer calls the rise in COVID-19 cases over the last few days “alarming”, and says people need to be vigilant to avoid what he calls “major trouble.”

Hospitalizations and ventilator usage are increasing, and health officials say Skagit County could soon end up back in the high-risk category.