File photo

File photo

Rates of COVID-19 lower in the Valley

East King County has lower rates than much of the rest of the county.

North Bend, Snoqualmie and the surrounding countryside has some of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in King County, according to a recently launched tracking tool.

The county’s tracking dashboards provide a variety of information, including positive test results and death information. Statistics on infections and deaths are broken down by ZIP code.

The ZIP code 98045, which includes North Bend, has had 24 people test positive since the outbreak began. Two people have died. For 98065, which includes Snoqualmie, 27 people have tested positive and one person has died.

While the numbers are low compared to more urban areas of the county, the lower population in the Valley means that both ZIP codes have rates exceeding 150 cases per 100,000 people since the pandemic began. Throughout the county, the latest figures show 8,159 people have tested positive and 557 people have died from COVID-19.

Countywide, the cases have been decreasing. In the past two weeks, the total number of cases dropped to 24 per 100,000. On May 29, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that counties with 25 cases per 100,000 or less over a two-week period could apply to move to Phase 2 of a plan to reopen businesses that were shuttered as part of his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. That order expired on May 31.

Mayors of several rural cities within the past two weeks have sent letters to Inslee asking the governor to allow them to reopen ahead of the rest of King County.

The dashboard also shows several criteria that county officials are using to gauge the pandemic. Most of the criteria are being met, except for those related to testing. King County is still lagging in both the number of tests that are being administered as well as how long it takes to get results to people.

Economic, social and health effects are also tracked. Since March 1, there have been more than 327,500 new unemployment claims filed in the county. Requests for housing-related assistance increased by 39 percent. More than 10,000 additional households received food assistance in April than January. Domestic violence calls also increased by 16 percent from January through April 2020 when compared with 2019.

There are also racial disparities in how the virus is affecting different ethnic communities. The rates of positive tests are disproportionately higher for black, Hispanic and Latinx and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders in the county than other groups.

No skilled nursing facilities in Snoqualmie or North Bend have reported a case of COVID-19, according to the dashboard.

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