COVID positivity rate about 4 times higher in South King County compared to rest of county

After a two-month decline, there's an increase in COVID-19 cases across Washington.

Health officials are particularly concerned about South King County where the positivity rates are about 4 times higher than the rest of the county.

Paige Cambern said she rarely visits downtown Auburn now even though she lives close by due to concerns around the virus.

“I’ve been inside for most of this doing my part to keep it from spreading,” Cambern said.

When you’ve had friends and family impacted by COVID-19, Cambern said the trend in cases becomes personal.

“I mean my fiance’s grandma died from COVID. It’s definitely super personal and it’s tough when people are like oh you know it’s not a big deal, mask don’t matter, because they do,” Cambern said.

It’s a bit of relief for Cambern knowing that a free test site is operating near her home.

With the help of firefighters, the GSA campus in Auburn has the capacity to test 1,000 people per day.

“This is definitely a specialty assignment that members of our fire department and Puget Sound Regional Authority do on their days off,” Capt. Jesse Mitchell with Valley Regional Fire said.

“It’s not painful I want to remove the fear,” Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus said.

Backus took a test in front of cameras hoping to encourage others to do the same in South King County where positivity rates have been up 13% compared to just 2 to 3% for cities such as Seattle.

“I do know even that transit ridership rates are up in South King County so my belief is that because so many essential workers live in South King County who don’t have the luxury from working from home,” Backus said.

Something the mayor said she is grateful for is that death rates and hospitalization rates are still relatively low.

Across Western Washington, health officials say transmission rates for people between 25 to 59-years-old is increasing.

The wide distribution suggests the state is seeing a broad community spread instead of a single type of activity causing the uptick.

“I will see people who are masked up and keeping distant and I’ll see people who just don’t seem to care at all it’s totally all over the place,” Cambern said.

Cambern said although she is young, she’s going to do everything she can to minimize her risk because her friends who had the virus a month ago she says are still dealing with symptoms.

“Just walking to the post office my friend would get insanely out of breath and would have to pause to take a rest, and they are both still exhausted, and even them just having super minor cases of it, it’s still affecting them,” Cambern said.

The GSA campus is open for free testing Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and an appointment is not needed.