COVID Hospitalizations Rise, Outdoor Mask Mandates Begin

AP Staff

September 08, 2021

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SEATTLE (AP) — COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout Washington state after the Labor Day weekend continue to increase, early state data reports show.

At a news briefing Tuesday, Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer said after the weekend, hospital officials counted 1,674 Washingtonians hospitalized with the virus, a 7% increase from last week, The Seattle Times reported.

 "Even more shocking," she said, 251 of those patients are on ventilators, reflecting a 34% increase from last week.

"To be clear, a lot of these people are not going to make it," Sauer said. The patients are "almost exclusively" unvaccinated individuals, or people who are immunocompromised, she said.

Certain non-urgent procedures statewide also continue to be canceled, including colostomy reversals and other "very serious care that people need," Sauer said.

The increased hospitalization trend means local officials are going to increasingly require proof of vaccination for nonessential public gatherings, Sauer said. King County officials said Tuesday a vaccine verification policy was in the works while Clallam and Jefferson counties already implemented a policy requiring vaccination proof at restaurants.

Directives from the two most populous counties in Washington state to wear masks in some outdoor settings went into effect Tuesday because of rising cases. The directives in King and Pierce Counties, regardless of vaccination status, is for people age 5 and older at events with 500 or more people.

Last month Gov. Jay Inslee announced a statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.