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Rule-breaking partiers are causing large rise in virus cases

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Rule-breaking partiers are causing large rise in virus cases

A “thank you” sign is seen near Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, where COVID-19 patients’ test results are available in about an hour. (Sue Misao / The Herald) EVERETT — COVID-19 case rates continue to steadily climb after reaching a low point in late spring, driven in part by summer gatherings that have become hotbeds for infection transmission, Snohomish County’s top public health official said on Tuesday.

The county is now seeing about 80 cases per 100,000 people every two weeks — roughly four times the rolling average six weeks ago, when that number was at its lowest since the beginning of the pandemic, said Dr. Chris Spitters, the Snohomish Health District’s health officer.

Because the county , people are limited to gathering with no more than five others outside of their household. Between June 20 and July 11, at least 82 cases were linked to at least three dozen social gatherings that were larger than allowed. The events, some of which drew as many as 40 people, were each connected to an average of five cases, Spitters said.

Public health workers have traced confirmed cases back to 30 separate gatherings on July 4.

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“While it may seem as though a few extra people is no big deal, these findings show that it is, in fact, a big deal. There is very little margin for error with this virus and the health district is encouraging people to keep their social groups as small as possible. And no greater than five people outside the home in a week,” Spitters said. “Less people, less risk.”

Deaths and hospitalizations, though, aren’t increasing in step with case numbers, […]

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