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Risks of ending social distancing too early; Public Health – Seattle & King County announces 145 new cases and 7 deaths reported for April 11, 2020

Summary

While some initial studies suggest social distancing measures are slowing the spread of COVID-19 in King County, Public Health cautions that relaxing our social distancing strategy too soon could overwhelm the healthcare system. In addition, Public Health reported 145 new cases, bringing the official case count in King County to 4,262, and 7 new deaths, bringing the total of COVID-19 deaths in King County to 284.

Story

Relaxing social distancing too soon could overwhelm the healthcare system

Because of our current success at distancing, today our hospitals are able to safely provide the usual level of care to the people who need it. This is also because of many major changes hospitals and healthcare systems have made to their usual operations in order to prepare to care for large numbers of COVID-19 cases.

But if we should get a dramatic spike in people who need to be hospitalized, it will badly stretch the system.

When it appears safe, Public Health will be looking at the following indicators to help inform the timing and approach for the gradual relaxing of one or more social distancing measures:

  • A steady decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for at least two weeks;
  • Healthcare system readiness, including sufficient staffing, supplies, and bed space, to be able to accommodate the increase in cases we expect to see when we loosen social distancing measures;
  • Widespread availability of rapid testing and reporting of results, beyond what is currently available, so people who are infected can take quick action to slow the spread of COVID-19;
  • Capacity to conduct widespread case and contact investigations to quickly identify people who are infected and their close contacts and help them isolate and quarantine;
  • Availability of proven COVID-19 treatments, which are currently under evaluation.

At the same time, we are sensitive to the unintended economic and social impacts from a prolonged Stay Home order. We must advocate for and provide support to those who are experiencing hardships as a result of this necessary disease control strategy.

For further details, please see the related blog post on Public Health Insider.

NOTE: Public Health Media Release schedule is changing

Starting next week, Public Health will distribute updates through a Media Release on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

  • Exceptions will be made when important news must be distributed through a Media Release, on any day of the week.
  • Public Health publishes new information frequently through the Public Health Insider blog – please consider becoming a subscriber by choosing the option to "Follow Blog Via Email."
  • Daily totals for new cases of COVID-19 and deaths are available on the Data Dashboard webpage, which updates as soon as data are available, typically between 1pm to 3pm.

For additional information about COVID-19 and the response in King County, be sure to check our webpage: www.kingcounty.gov/covid

Everyone, even people who are young and healthy, must stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Each individual’s actions affect the health of our entire community, and what we do as a community protects us all. Stand Together, Stay Apart.

Case updates

Public Health—Seattle & King County is reporting the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 4/10/20.

  • 4,262 confirmed positive cases (up 145* from yesterday)
  • 284 confirmed deaths (up 7 from yesterday)

* The "new confirmed positive cases" figure we publish each day represents all new confirmed cases reported to us through 11:59 the night prior. Some of these test results were processed on days prior but were delayed in being reported to us.

Detailed information about demographics of those who died from COVID-19 is available on the data dashboard.

Temporary changes in reporting of negative COVID-19 test results

King County's COVID-19 data dashboard is based on data provided by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). As of April 4, 2020, DOH has temporarily stopped reporting data on negative test results. As a result, we are no longer displaying information on negative test results on our data dashboard.

Isolation and quarantine facilities update

Isolation and quarantine is a proven public health practice for reducing the spread of disease. Examples of people who may need this assistance include people who cannot safely isolate from a family member who is elderly or medically fragile, or people experiencing homelessness. Individuals can only be placed into the King County sites after a health professional with Public Health has determined that they need isolation or quarantine.

Seventy-one people are currently staying in King County isolation and quarantine facilities.

The number of residents at King County's isolation and quarantine sites is included in regular updates provided by Public Health. No other identifying or personal information will be provided.