Officials in King County, Washington, including Seattle and its suburbs, cited the surge in coronavirus cases caused by the Delta variant and said masks should be worn at outdoor events with more than 500 people. ..
The obligation begins on Tuesday and applies to residents over the age of 5 regardless of vaccination status. The county also strongly recommends masks for everyone over the age of 5 in other outdoor environments where people cannot be at least 6 feet away from people outside the family.
County health officials said hospitals have been the busiest and health care workers overweight since the pandemic began.
As of Wednesday, a seven-day average of new cases across Washington was 3,465 per day, up 19% over the past two weeks to reach new state records, according to the New York Times database. bottom. The data also show that current hospitalizations increased by 35% to an average of 1,753 per day and new deaths increased by 72% to an average of 24 per day over the same period.
According to federal data, 72% of Washington residents over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated. People under the age of 12 are not eligible for the vaccine.
“King County has promised to put people first, and if we don’t take action now to further prevent the Covid-19 epidemic, risks to the community and health care system,” said Dow Constantine, a King County executive. I am fully aware of this. ” Said in a statement.
King County orders on Thursday will continue to require masks in indoor public areas such as schools, grocery stores, malls, gyms, and community centers. This directive is in sync with the state’s indoor mask directive for all persons over the age of five, which came into effect in late August.
Last week, Oregon became the first state to reinstate the state-wide masking obligation to require masks outdoors, regardless of vaccination status. There was already a requirement for indoor masks throughout the state. And Los Angeles County recently set up a Maskman Date for an event that attracts more than 10,000 people.
The Seattle area recorded most of the first Covid deaths in the United States as a virus rampaged in a nursing home on the outskirts of Seattle in early 2020. In early 2021, the per capita death toll in the region was lower than in other metropolitan areas.
Sarah Cahalan contributed to the report.