As the country has 1 million COVID-19 deaths, cases and hospitalizations are rising again in western Washington.
“Everyone knows someone who recently tested positive,” said Pavitra Roychoudhury, acting professor at the University of Washington’s virology lab, who also has an appointment at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
She said one in five PCR tests that UW Medicine processes come back positive, at a time when many people are quietly testing at home.
“What we’re seeing with PCR testing is most likely an underestimate of the overall positivity rate, which means transmission is definitely very high,” Roychoudhury said.
It follows the latest omicron sub-variant, known as BA2.12.1.
“So far we are facing a highly transmissible variant,” Roychoudhury said.
The Washington State Health Department’s COVID dashboard shows cases well below January highs, but is starting to climb again.
Seattle public school cases hit their highest level since January.
The Washington State Hospital Association says that a month ago, 200 people in Washington were hospitalized with COVID.
This number is now 450.
“It’s still well below some of the highs we were at before. What we don’t know is, are we at the start of a trend or are we at the top of a wave? But we are really worried,” said Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association.
White House COVID adviser Dr Ashish Jha said he was concerned about waning immunity from vaccines or previous infections.
“We have over 80,000 infections a day, hundreds of people are still dying every day, we have a host of challenges, while we are in much better shape than two years ago,” Jha said last week. .
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