COVID-19 test kit. Courtesy photo

COVID-19 test kit. Courtesy photo

COVID surge in the Valley

The winter COVID-19 surge is here, and the Snoqualmie Valley is seeing a spike similar to other areas of King County.

According to the county coronavirus dashboard, as of Dec. 14, nearly 9,500 people tested positive for the virus over the previous two weeks across the county. And 4.2% of all positive cases ended in hospitalization, while 0.7% died.

On the morning of Dec. 15, the county’s COVID dashboard appeared to be experiencing technical difficulties and could not retrieve updated city-level data.

However, previously retrieved numbers in Snoqualmie on Dec. 9 show there were 35 positive cases reported over the prior two weeks. Since the start of the outbreak, the city has had 192 positive cases and four hospitalizations. A new surge began in November and continues. Two previous spikes were seen in March and again in August.

In Fall City, three new cases were observed over two weeks prior to Dec. 9, and the total number of positive cases was 29.

North Bend also saw a large number of cases in the two weeks before Dec. 9. There were 28 people who tested positive for the virus over the past two weeks, and a total of 176 cases since the pandemic began.

In an attempt to curb the outbreak, Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Dec. 8 extended restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. The initial wave of restrictions was announced in November, and were set to expire on Dec. 14.

These include restricting indoor social gatherings with people outside a single household, unless guests quarantine for 14 days prior to the gathering, or quarantine for seven days and receive a negative COVID-19 test within two days before the gathering.

Outdoor social gatherings are also limited to five people from outside a single household.

Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor dining, and gyms are closed for indoor operations. Bowling centers, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums are also closed for indoor service.

Retail stores are limited to having 25 percent of their normal indoor occupancy, or 100 people, whichever is less.

The governor also announced a total of $135 million in relief funding for businesses in the state.

The restrictions came as Washington state was expecting to start receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It anticipates it will receive 219,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 182,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of December.

These doses will likely go to health care workers and long-term care facility residents.

Supplies of vaccines could be limited across the country, as the Trump administration declined to buy an additional 100 million vaccinations for the country from Pfizer.

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