Citing the increase in coronavirus cases driven by the delta variant, officials at King County In Washington – which includes Seattle and its suburbs – said Thursday it will require masks to be worn at outdoor events that attract more than 500 people.
The authorization begins on Tuesday, and applies to residents age 5 and older, regardless of their vaccination status. The county also strongly recommends the use of masks for all people over the age of 5 in other outdoor settings where people cannot stay at least six feet away from people outside their homes.
County health officials said hospitals are the busiest since the pandemic began, and health care workers are overburdened.
As of Wednesday, Washington state’s seven-day average of new cases reached a new state record, with 3,465 cases per day, a 19 percent increase in the past two weeks, according to the New York Times database. The data also shows that the number of current hospitalizations has grown by 35% over the same time period, to a daily average of 1,753, and the number of new deaths has jumped by 72%, to a daily average of 24.
Seventy-two percent of Washington residents age 18 or older have been fully vaccinated, according to federal data. Persons under the age of 12 are not eligible for vaccination.
“King County is committed to prioritizing people, and today’s order fully recognizes the risks to communities and our healthcare system if we do not take action now to prevent the further spread of Covid-19,” he said in a statement.
King County’s order Thursday continues to require masks in indoor public places, including schools, grocery stores, malls, gyms and community centers. Sort synchronously with The state of the inner mask of the state For all people over 5 years old, which came into effect in late August.
Oregon last week became the first state to restore mask state statewide Outdoor masks required regardless of the vaccination status; He already had a statewide indoor mask requirement. and Los Angeles County It was recently posted somewhere Mask mandate events that attract more than 10,000 people.
The Seattle area recorded most of the first deaths from the Covid virus in the country, as the virus broke out in a nursing home in the suburbs of Seattle in early 2020. In early 2021, the per capita deaths in the area reached was less than any other large metropolitan area.
Sarah Cahlan contributed to the report.