4th Wave Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hits Washington State - NPR
May 11, 2021 1 min, 36 secs
Sydney Porter of Bellevue, Wash., receives her COVID-19 vaccination from Kristine Gill, with the Seattle Fire Department's Mobile Vaccination Teams, before the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles at T-Mobile Park on May 5 in Seattle.

A late spring COVID-19 surge has filled hospitals in the metro areas around Seattle.

Sydney Porter of Bellevue, Wash., receives her COVID-19 vaccination from Kristine Gill, with the Seattle Fire Department's Mobile Vaccination Teams, before the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles at T-Mobile Park on May 5 in Seattle.

A late spring COVID-19 surge has filled hospitals in the metro areas around Seattle.

As the coronavirus outbreak recedes in many parts of the U.S., the Pacific Northwest has emerged as an outlier — gripped by a late spring surge that has filled hospitals in the metro areas around Seattle and Portland.

In Washington state, new hospital admissions for COVID-19 have been higher during this current surge than at any other time, except for this past winter.

The average age of COVID-19 patients at MultiCare has fallen about a decade, which has made this latest surge more manageable because younger patients tend to have shorter hospital stays than the elderly do, he says.

There are several likely explanations for why Oregon and Washington are being hit with a late spring surge: how quickly the B.1.1.7 strain took off, cooler weather still keeping people indoors and the region's relative success at fending off the virus earlier in the pandemic, which now leaves the population more vulnerable — at least until more people are fully vaccinated.

More than half of adults in the state have had at least one dose, and in the Seattle metro area that number rises to about 70%.

Scott Kotlarz, who just received his second shot there, says he personally knows of two people in the state who have died during this latest surge of COVID-19, including one who was a distant relative.


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