OLYMPIA – On Nov. 13, the Washington State Department of Health reported 2,147 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily case count since the pandemic began. Just two weeks before, it had announced 1,000 new cases in a day for the first time since mid-summer, according to a DOH press release. And, each day last week it reported over 1,000 new cases per day. 

The fall surge, which is getting worse every day, has erased the notable progress that Washingtonians made this summer. A dozen counties (including the five largest) are seeing steep increases in cases and they’re following a troubling nationwide trend.

Gov. Jay Inslee and First Lady Trudi Inslee recently addressed the state, imploring people not to have social gatherings of any kind with people outside their immediate households or gather for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now, new guidance around essential travel outlines what must be done to help get the spread of this virus under control as the holiday season approaches. 

“The collective choices each of us are making every day have an enormous impact on the spread of COVID-19. We all must re-evaluate our plans for the upcoming holidays and everyday life. As community rates go up, the risk posed by social gatherings increases as well,” said Deputy Secretary of Health for COVID-19 Response Lacy Fehrenbach. “The only way to slow the spread is for us all to recommit to the actions we know work. We have flattened our curve twice before, and it’s time to do it again.”

Anyone with symptoms or close contact with someone who has COVID-19 needs to get tested to help slow this current surge. Now more than ever it’s important to have a plan for testing in place in case you develop symptoms or come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. For more information about testing, visit doh.wa.gov/testing.

“We all must take immediate action if we want to avoid overwhelming our hospital systems,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “And we must take action now to save lives — lives of the people we care for and love.”

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