King County reaches CDC's 'yellow' COVID-19 level

King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin gave an update Monday afternoon regarding the increasing levels of COVID-19 in the county. 

According to a news release, King County has moved into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s medium, or "yellow," level. 

Last month, the CDC released a tool, COVID-19 Community Levels, to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

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The medium level means that there are over 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. 

"While the CDC "medium" risk category is not a magic threshold, meaning something has suddenly or fundamentally changed about the outbreak, it does tell us that COVID-19 risk is increasing for individuals and for our community," health officials said.

King County Public Health said that even though the cases have been gradually rising over the past month, hospitalizations and deaths remain relatively low. 

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"Preventing hospitalizations and deaths is the top priority, and our vaccines are currently doing a great job on this front," said Duchin. "Although we’re not able to count every case, every case counts because even less severe COVID-19 can lead to long COVID in an estimated 10-30% of cases, with brain, heart and lung problems that can make it difficult to work and do normal activities. People with less severe infections can also spread COVID-19 to others, including people at high risk. And some people will get severe infections, especially those who are unvaccinated such as children under five."

Public Health is not issuing any new requirements or restrictions for the county but does recommend using layered prevention measures, which includes being up-to-date on with COVID-19 vaccinations, improving indoor air quality, using high quality and well-fitting face masks and getting tested. 

The department will also continue to monitor the county's COVID-19 levels.