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Wash. state's rising virus infection rate a 'cause for concern,' Inslee says

SEATTLE – As President Donald Trump and members of his Coronavirus Task Force praise Washington’s social distancing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Jay Inslee remains somewhat skeptical when it comes to the work being done.

Inslee had previously said that the increasing positive case rate is something that concerns him and that the full weight of the virus has yet to be seen.

“These positive percentages are going up which is a cause for concern,” he said.

Over the course of the last four days, the overall positive case rate for the state has gone from 8 percent to 8.6 percent. Two weeks ago, Latest Washington News it stood at just 7 percent.

KOMO News has reached out to the state Department of Health and its Joint Information Center, hoping to get more context behind what may be to blame. Here’s part of an email that was received from the JIC:

However, on the state’s dashboard showing the latest COVID-19 stats and figures, testing appears to have dropped off significantly over the course of the last few days. KOMO News has asked if there continues to be a bottleneck in getting test results processed or if there are still difficulties with the website.

A second concern the governor has focused on is the virus' impact on some rural counties.

In Benton County, for example, county data showed five deaths and 56 cases as of Saturday, March 28. As of Saturday, April 5, that number has exploded to at least 13 deaths and 266 cases.

Inslee on Thursday extended his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order through May 4. In determining what it will take to lift that order, Press Release Distribution Service he says he’ll be looking at things like daily infection rates, hospital patterns, traffic patterns and to see if people continue to practice social distancing.

“The virus has a say in this and what it does is something we’ll be watching very closely every single day,” Inslee said Thursday.

“We will be intensely dissecting all of the data to determine whether or not we can be confident we’ve wrestled this beast to the ground.”

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