Inslee: Washington has entered its fourth wave of COVID-19 | Sun

Washington State entered its fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as cases continue to rise, Gov. Jay Inslee said.

At a news conference where he was joined by health care officials from Pierce and Spokane County, Inslee pointed to data showing an increase in cases, an increase in hospitalizations and the transmission of new virus variants.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing the start of a fourth increase in Washington state,” Inslee said.

“And unfortunately we are starting at a higher level than where the other waves began,” anticipated the governor, referring to the number of cases so far.

Cases are climbing as state authorities rush to vaccinate more people, even though demand has dropped in some parts of the state, according to Inslee.

Inslee asked the community to get vaccinated, wear face masks, and maintain physical distance.

Dan Getz of Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital in Spokane called it a steady and worrying increase, but still manageable.

“The patients are getting younger, both in terms of hospitalizations and even deaths,” said Getz, the medical director of those hospitals. “We have recently seen some very sick patients in their 20s and we are also seeing more hospitalized patients in their 50s.”

MultiCare in Pierce County also sees a slow increase in patients admitted to the hospital, said Dave Carlson, chief medical officer.

Patients are younger there too, Carlson said, especially people with chronic health conditions like obesity, diabetes and lung disease.

The increase in cases occurs as the transmission of new variants of the new coronavirus increases in the state, some of which are more contagious and deadly.

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Inslee shared a graph showing transmission of the variant first identified in the UK.

That variant was rare in Washington until early March, according to the data. But now it is the dominant variant in the state.