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Public Health interviews people who test positive for COVID-19 (cases) and investigates outbreaks.

This page shows the number of outbreaks that Public Health has identified across various settings and the number of cases associated with each type of setting. In addition, a table shows the number of outbreaks identified by month (listed by the month when Public Health was first notified of the outbreak).

Outbreak definitions


Categories are mutually exclusive and a facility will be only included in one such category. Cases considered epidemiologically linked (epi-linked) to an outbreak share common characteristics, including but not limited to, close contact to a confirmed case, shared environment, or common exposure.

  • Childcares; including early learning programs, home childcare centers, and school-based childcare centers.
  • K-12 schools include both private and public schools.

For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:

  • 2 or more cases linked to the facility with epidemiologic link in a non-household setting.
  • Places of worship; including churches, temples, mosques, and other faith-based organizations.
  • Social gatherings including private events, weddings, parties and other large social gatherings.

For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:

  • 2 or more cases linked to the facility with epidemiologic link in a non-household setting

For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:

  • 2 or more cases linked to the facility with epidemiologic link in a non-household setting
  • Manufacturing including food processing, construction, agriculture, and other manufacturing sites
  • Food service establishments includes restaurants, fast food, taverns, and coffee shops.
  • Retail, hospitality or recreational worksites including grocery or other retail, hotels or other hospitality services, gyms, and recreational/outdoor worksites.
  • Shipping, delivery and utility worksites
  • All other non-healthcare worksites, including office-based worksites.

For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:

  • 2 or more cases linked to the facility with epidemiologic link in a non-household setting
  • Includes non-K-12 schools, such as vocational programs, college or university programs.
  • Dormitories or other college/university operated residences
  • University of Washington's sorority/fraternity chapter houses

For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:

  • 2 or more cases linked to the facility with epidemiologic link in a non-household setting
  • Includes adult family homes, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities

For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:

  • > 1 facility-acquired COVID-19 infection in a resident
  • > 2 COVID-19 infection in healthcare workers who were on site at any time during their exposure or infectious period
  • Includes home health agencies
  • Outpatient settings, including dialysis, primary care, dental and pharmacies

  • For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:
    • > 3 cases of COVID-19 infection cases in patients or HCW, with epi-linkage, AND no other more likely sources of exposure (who do not share a household, and are not listed as a close contact of each other outside of the workplace during standard case investigation or contact tracing) for at least 2 of the cases.
  • Including acute care hospitals and psychiatric hospitals

  • For this category, an outbreak is defined by the following criteria:
    • > 2 cases of COVID-19 infection in a patient 7 or more days after admission for a non-COVID condition, with epi-linkage
    • > 3 cases of COVID-19 infection in HCW with epi-linkage AND no other more likely sources of exposure (who do not share a household, and are not listed as a close contact of each other outside of the workplace during standard case investigation or contact tracing) for at least 2 of the cases.
      OR
    • A combination of > 3 cases of COVID-19 infection in HCW and patients with epi-linkage.

Limitations


The recent surge in cases has resulted in a heavy workload for Public Health staff, making it difficult to keep up with case investigations and increasing the likelihood that some outbreaks may be missed. Certain workplaces (such as healthcare facilities and larger work sites) may detect and report outbreaks to Public Health more reliably than others, so reported outbreaks do not reflect a complete picture of all outbreaks or associated cases.

Table Summary

    # of outbreaks # of cases Avg. cases per outbreak
All outbreaks 1,662 14,917 9
Childcares and K-12 schools Childcare 114 612 5
K-12 schools 32 132 4
Community Outbreaks Places of worship 25 267 11
Social gatherings 59 365 6
Homelessness service sites Homelessness service sites 146 867 6
Long-term care or supported living Long-term care facilities 409 5,525 14
Supported living 57 927 16
Non-healthcare worksites Food service establishments 230 477 4
Manufacturing 222 2,002 9
Other non-healthcare worksites 77 391 5
Retail, hospitality or recreational worksites 161 1,010 6
Shipping, delivery & utility worksites 37 193 5
Non-LTCF Healthcare Acute care and psychiatric hospitals 49 465 9
Home health agencies 25 136 5
Outpatient settings 42 255 6
Other outbreaks Correctional Facilities 19 344 18
Senior living 22 92 4
Summer camps 1 2 2
University or colleges University and colleges 35 855 24

Table summary of outbreaks by month

    Not yet determined 2020 2021  
      Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr Total
All outbreaks 2 2 80 91 39 73 129 112 99 169 278 222 160 99 98 9 1,662
Childcares and K-12 schools Childcare 3 3 2 4 4 2 6 10 34 16 8 5 17 114
K-12 schools 1 1 2 6 4 3 7 6 3 32
Community outbreaks Places of worship
2 1 1 5 6 1 1 1 5 1 25
Social gatherings 1 2 3 2 2 12 12 11 8 6 59
Homelessness service sites Homelessness service sites 6 36 3 1 9 6 8 5 22 25 15 6 4 146
Long-term care or supported living Long-term care facilities 2 53 34 22 32 29 16 10 28 52 69 49 10 3 409
Supported living 5 6 4 9 6 2 14 5 6 57
Non-healthcare worksites Food service establishments
1 13 15 8 12 26 25 10 6 3 10 130
Manufacturing 1 7 8 20 24 16 32 38 23 17 16 20 222
Other non-healthcare worksites
2 12 8 3 11 11 4 9 9 5 3 77
Retail, hospitality or recreational worksites
3 11 18 13 16 32 21 15 15 15 2 161
Shipping, delivery & utility worksites
2 5 4 5 6 6 2 3 3 1 37
Non-LTCF Healthcare Acute care and psychiatric hospitals 3 3 1 2 6 6 5 5 7 8 1 2 49
Home health agencies 1 2 1 4 4 3 1 3 1 2 2 25
Outpatient settings 2 3 5 3 1 8 7 9 1 2 1 42
Other outbreaks Correctional facilities 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 2 3 19
Senior living 6 1
2 1 1 4 3 2 2 22
Summer camps 1 1
University or colleges University and colleges 1 1 1 1 5 5 6 5 5 3 2 35

Details about sector outbreaks


Disclosures are limited to acute care hospitals with 5 or more cases among staff and patients

  • Homeless service sites: Please refer to the weekly dashboard for more details

  • Long-term care facilities: Please refer to weekly dashboard for more details

  • Hospitals: Below are the hospital or acute care setting facilities with 5 or more cases among patients and staff.

Bolded outbreaks are currently ongoing (at least one case epidemiologically linked within the last 28 days).

Facility name First notified to PHSKC # of cases among patients # of cases among staff # of cases among patients and staff
UW Harborview Mar 28, 2021 2 5 7
Virginia Mason Medical Center Feb 12, 2021 2 10 12
St. Francis Hospital Jan 26, 2021 23 23 46
Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital Jan 21, 2021 38 3 41
UW Medicine Valley Medical Center Jan 15, 2021 0 7 7
UW Medicine - Montlake Jan 4, 2021 2 8 10
UW Medicine - Harborview Medical Center Jan 1, 2021 0 11 11
Fairfax Behavioral Health Hospital Dec 26, 2020 14 3 17
UW Medicine - Harborview Medical Center Dec 24, 2020 0 7 7
Virginia Mason Medical Center Dec 14, 2020 8 16 24
UW Medicine - Northwest Hospital Dec 3, 2020 18 14 32
UW Medicine Valley Medical Center Nov 30, 2020 4 15 19
Swedish Medical Center, First Hill Nov 19, 2020 0 5 5
Swedish Medical Center, First Hill Nov 13, 2020 0 21 21
Multicare Auburn Medical Center Nov 6, 2020 15 13 28
Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital Oct 6, 2020 16 14 30
UW Medicine - Harborview Medical Center Oct 4, 2020 4 12 16
Virginia Mason Medical Center Aug 29, 2020 1 4 5
Swedish Medical Center, Cherry Hill Aug 13, 2020 1 8 9
Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital Aug 12, 2020 1 4 5