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COVID fatigue hits holiday weekend as cases surge in 6 Washington counties

Health officials say COVID is exploding in our state, and the CDC is recommending people mask in six counties to curb new infections.

The nationwide seven-day case rate is around 241 new cases per 100,000 population, and 10% of all hospital beds are occupied by COVID patients. Officials say 68% of the state’s population has received at least two doses of the vaccine.

As the bank holiday weekend drags on, health officials are warning COVID remains a threat to our most vulnerable neighbors.

“It’s beautiful, the weather is so beautiful,” said Tessa Sharp. “We can be outside, that’s probably for the best.”

Sharp and her pal Harrison Cook have hit the water in kayaks, and they both agree that COVID can feel like a distant memory at times.

“I feel safe,” Cook said. “A colleague just got it, but he’s fine. I think when we are on the water we will be far away from the people.”

But flight is not our reality as COVID persists almost everywhere in Washington state. Health officials say cases are rising rapidly, with 200 new cases reported in six counties; Garfield, Spokane, Lewis, Pacific, Grays Harbor and Thurston counties.

“We’ve seen a slight increase in hospitalization deaths across the state since May,” said Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett of the Washington State Department of Health. “The increase in deaths remains stable at the moment.”

Most people who spoke to FOX 13 News shared their concern that the disease continues to affect many and that they plan to continue wearing masks to protect others.

However, other people shared the sentiment that the 2022 summer season should spell the end of lockdowns and that mask mandates are long history.

“I’m trying to live my life,” Dillon Frederick said. I try to live my life not to be too close to crowds. That’s why we’re out.”

Frederickson’s friend shared a similar opinion.

“I’ve never worn one,” said Sean Cintas. “I never liked it. I’m back to normal.”

But what is normal is that COVID is not over yet. Health officials insist wearing masks indoors can help protect yourself, those you love and those who continue to work on the frontlines of a seemingly never-ending pandemic.

“Hospitals and emergency departments are reporting significant pressures such as staff shortages and difficulties in discharging patients,” Kwan-Gett said.

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