Citing a surge in coronavirus instances pushed by the Delta variant, officers in King County in Washington — which incorporates Seattle and its suburbs — mentioned Thursday that it will require masks be worn at outside occasions that entice greater than 500 individuals.
The mandate begins Tuesday, and it applies to residents 5 years of age and older, no matter their vaccination standing. The county can also be strongly recommending masks for everybody over 5 years outdated in different outside settings the place individuals can’t stay at the least six ft aside from individuals exterior their family.
County well being officers mentioned that hospitals are probably the most crowded because the pandemic started, and that well being care employees have been overburdened.
As of Wednesday, the seven-day common of latest instances throughout Washington State has reached a brand new state document, with 3,465 a day, a rise of 19 p.c within the final two weeks, in accordance with a New York Instances database. The info additionally exhibits that present hospitalizations have grown 35 p.c over the identical time interval, to a every day common of 1,753, and new deaths have jumped 72 p.c, to a every day common of 24.
Seventy-two p.c of Washington residents 18 and older are totally vaccinated, in accordance with federal knowledge. Folks youthful than 12 are usually not eligible for the vaccines.
“King County is dedicated to placing individuals first, and at the moment’s order totally acknowledges the chance to communities and our well being care system if we don’t take motion now to additional stop the unfold of Covid-19,” Dow Constantine, the King County government, mentioned in a press release.
The King County order on Thursday continues to require masks in indoor public settings, together with faculties, grocery shops, malls, gyms, and neighborhood facilities. The order is in sync with the state’s indoor masks mandate for everybody over 5 years of age, which went into impact late in August.
Oregon final week turned the primary state to revive a statewide masks mandate requiring masks outdoor no matter vaccination standing; it already had an indoor masks requirement statewide. And Los Angeles County not too long ago put into a spot a masks mandate for occasions that entice greater than 10,000 individuals.
The Seattle area had recorded a lot of the nation’s first Covid deaths, because the virus rampaged by way of a nursing house within the Seattle suburbs in early 2020. In early 2021, the area’s deaths per capita have been decrease than some other giant metropolitan space.
Sarah Cahalan contributed reporting.