Washington state Covid transmissions and hospitalizations hit all-time high

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A nurse on infection control accompanies a patient being transferred from the ICU COVID unit to the acute care COVID unit at Harborview Medical Center on May 7, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.
Karen Ducey | Getty Images

Covid-19 transmissions and hospitalizations in Washington state are at an all-time high, according to the state’s Department of Health.

On July 8, Washington was recording a Covid infection prevalence of 1 in 588 residents. Just one month later, on Aug. 6, that number nearly quadrupled to a Covid infection prevalence of 1 in 156 residents, the department said Thursday. The most recent numbers surpassed those recorded during the state’s third wave of Covid infections in the winter of 2020.

Washington state is reporting a seven-day average of 38.5 daily new cases per 100,000 residents, ranking 22nd among all states, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Four counties had 14-day rates of new infections of 500 per 100,000 Washingtonians and five counties had rates of 300 to 500 per 100,000 residents. Sixteen counties had rates of 200 to 300 and 12 counties had 100 to 200. The delta variant makes up 98% of cases in the state.

Hospitalizations in the state also surged, with a seven-day rolling average of 29 hospital admissions for Covid on June 16. The number remained relatively low through July 8 but tripled by Aug. 6 to a seven-day rolling average of 96 hospital admissions for Covid symptoms. The state noted that hospitalizations of people in their 20s and 30s have been increasing, a trend seen in hospitals across the country as most older Americans have been vaccinated.

Admissions to the state’s hospitals for those who are unvaccinated and over age 65 are six times higher than those who are fully vaccinated. For people ages 16 to 64, those who are unvaccinated are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than their vaccinated counterparts. “If the entire population were to experience the rates of hospitalizations currently seen in the unvaccinated, the hospital system would be completely overwhelmed,” the state Health department said in a statement.

Death rates have remained relatively flat at a seven-day rolling average of about 5 to 10 deaths per day since March 23.

Immunity from prior infection in the state is just 15.5%, which would leave 84.5% of Washingtonians unprotected if they did not have access to Covid-19 vaccines. As of Aug. 16, 71.5% of the population age 12 and older have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, according to the Health Department.

In the statewide population, immunity from prior infections and vaccinations stands at 54.7%, an increase of just 2.8% since July 6.

“We absolutely need to realize that it could literally be any one of us, or our loved ones, needing hospital care in the near future,” said acting state chief science officer Dr. Scott Lindquist. “At this point, to ensure that care is available when we need it, our hospitals are counting on every one of us to mask up and get vaccinated.”

CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

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