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Over the past month King County Public Health has seen an alarming and steady upward trend in COVID-19 cases. This trend has been mirrored in North Bend where the city had a record number of new cases reported in October (30) - a 76% increase over September cases (17). In comparison, Snoqualmie – double the population of North Bend – reported 25 cases and Issaquah – five times the population of North Bend – reported 36 cases.
King County Public Health warns that the county is at a critical juncture, with the 7-day average daily COVID-19 case count sitting around 200, and a peak day last week with nearly 415 new cases – a level exceeding previous record high daily case counts in April and July.
The City recognizes that residents are tired - that it has been a very long 7 months of ‘pandemic living,’ but as we enter Fall and Winter it is more important than ever to stay vigilant so that King County – and Washington – avoid the scenarios playing out in other areas of the country where case numbers are even higher and hospitals are at or over capacity.
When we head to the grocery store, to work or the coffee shop, we act carefully. We mask up and do our best to stay distanced. Now more than ever, the City is urging residents to keep following those precautions. Now is not the time to become complacent.
As we head into the wet, cold season, King County Public Health continues to discourage gathering in groups and recommends limiting the time when you must gather - even during the holidays. Contact tracing has shown it is often family gatherings, car rides, birthday parties have been prevalent in spreading COVID-19 – especially indoors.
Remember to wear masks – both indoors and outdoors – when you’re around anyone outside your household and stay physically distanced. Remember that indoor gatherings are riskier than outdoors. Ventilation helps, but what helps more is keeping gatherings small, wearing masks and staying at least 6 feet apart.
This is also NOT the year to forego a flu shot. Public Health officials say this year flu shots are critical. Even without a pandemic, fall and winter are busy times for hospitals. Health officials want to proactively preserve hospital capacity. A flu shot is an easy way to accomplish that.
We at the City know pandemic restrictions have lasted longer than anyone predicted; that we are all feeling fatigued. We know residents are tired of being separated from loved ones and have become less vigilant about non-household family and friend visits. The approaching holiday season makes it even more difficult. However, it’s important to find ways to stay connected while staying apart. If you know someone who is struggling, reach out and be a shoulder to lean on. And when you do come together, be as safe as possible.
Mayor Rob McFarland commented, "This could be the most critical period since early April to bear down and beat back this virus."
North Bend City Staff will be handing out free cloth face masks to anyone in need at North Bend City Hall on Monday, November 9th from 3:00 – 5:00pm.
Thank you for your efforts North Bend. Keep Your Circle Small. Keep Masking Up, Washing Up and Spreading Out to Stop the Spread of COVID-19. Help #KeepNorthBendHealthy.
For more information see Reducing Coronavirus Risk as We Spend more Time Indoors for Fall and Winter.