DES MOINES, Wash. - The case rates are so alarming in South King County that the city of Des Moines just opened up a free new COVID testing site at Highline College.
Testing sites have been inundated with people all week, many showing up with COVID symptoms but health officials are emphasizing that people should not get a test just so they can socialize on Thanksgiving.
For one, just because you get a negative test now does not make it safe for next Thursday considering it takes a span of two weeks for COVID symptoms to show up in some cases.
Every time Eleese Bennett and her family have to leave the house, there is anxiety.
“For the most part we stay inside wash our hands and let the kids know what’s going on out there,” Bennett said.
The South King County family is in the epicenter of skyrocketing COVID cases and it’s also not lost on Bennett that the virus has hit people of color especially hard.
“We just need to come together and make sure everyone is safe from this,” Bennett said.
Places like Tukwila and SeaTac are seeing positivity rates go from high to higher, hitting nearly 19%.
Bennett doesn’t need those statistics to take the virus seriously. She’s seen what the virus can do up close. Her cousin contracted COVID over the summer and ended up in a hospital bed for 5 days fighting back thoughts of death.
“Seeing her in the hospital it brought tears to my eyes, she was wheezing, she had tubes I knew it was real, you hear people, other people catching it but that was way too close to home,” Bennett said.
Q13 News interviewed Bennett’s cousin Nicole Taylor last month about her terrifying battle. On Friday, both Bennett and Taylor are urging everyone not to gather this Thanksgiving with people outside your immediate household.
“Stay home enjoy your family on another day,” Bennett said.
Over in Seattle in the Magnolia neighborhood, Josh Green says that is exactly what his family is doing.
Although Magnolia hasn’t seen numbers like South King County, cases are still climbing there too.
“As a country and as a community in Seattle, it’s everyone’s job I feel to help chip in,” Green said.
As a corporate chef, Green says every year it was common to celebrate Thanksgiving with up to 20 people. Not this year, especially for the sake of his parents who are in their late seventies.
But he will still get to see their faces, the same way they did on Easter from the front yard separated by a fence.
Health experts are pleading with the public to minimize social contacts in every aspect of your life. They say if we do not do so immediately, their warning is that we could see an explosion of suffering like we’ve never seen before in modern times.