King County enters Phase 2, but cases are rising

VIDEO: King County approved to move into phase 2

KING COUNTY, Wash. — On the day King County officially moved to Phase 2 for re-opening, the county’s health officer also announced a 47% increase in new COVID-19 cases week-over-week.

The tally of 113 additional cases from the previous week, which Dr. Jeff Duchin described as an “uptick,” became clear in new data that arrived late Thursday night, he said.

On Monday, the county applied to enter Phase 2, from modified Phase 1.

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“We’re going to watch the trends, and if these increases continue, we’re going to have to know whether or not we have to step back,” Duchin said.

Young adults and Seattle residents made up the largest increase of new cases, he said.

“We believe this increase is likely due to increasing activity,” Duchin said.

Asked whether recent protests played a role in the jump, Duchin said that out of hundreds of cases, public health officials only found six patients who said they attended a demonstration. The prior week, health officials found eight patients.

“It doesn’t appear to be a major driver in the community,” Duchin said.

On the first day of Phase 2, restaurants in King County were able to open at 50 percent capacity, and stores allowed more customers inside compared to Phase 1.

While crowds remained light everywhere, some people embraced the opportunity to be out and about.

“Anytime something’s open, I’ve been there,” shopper Mindy Humphrey said. “Restaurants open, I’m there;, salons open, I’m there.”

Duchin stressed the importance of continuing to wear face coverings and practice social distancing when in public.